LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe on Wednesday defended plans to pardon his son for an 11-year-old marijuana conviction, saying his son is receiving the same type of second chance that hundreds of others have had over the past several years.
The outgoing Democratic governor last week said his next round of intended pardons, due in December, would include one for his son Kyle, who was convicted in 2003 of felony marijuana possession with intent to deliver. Beebe said his son’s case was similar to many of the more than 700 pardons he’s issued since taking office in 2007.
“I’m not going to treat my son worse than I treat everybody else, and I’m not treating him better,” Beebe said on his last appearance on the “Arkansans Ask” program on the Arkansas Educational Television Network.
The state Parole Board recommended a pardon for Kyle Beebe in October. He was sentenced to three years’ supervised probation, $1,150 in fines and court costs and had his driver’s license suspended for six months. Beebe was Arkansas’ attorney general when his son was convicted.
Kyle Beebe, 34, had applied for parole in June, and his application included a letter asking his father for forgiveness, addressing him as “Dear Governor.”
Beebe said the bulk of the pardons he’s issued over the past eight years have been for younger nonviolent drug offenders who have served their sentences and haven’t re-offended. He said his son’s case is similar to those other pardons.
“He was guilty, he paid the price and that was 11 years ago,” Beebe said. “And I’m not going to treat him worse than I treat other people that are similarly situated that I’ve granted literally hundreds and hundreds of pardons for over the past eight years.”
There is a 30-day waiting period for public comment after Beebe announces intent to grant pardons before final action is taken. Beebe is leaving office in January due to term limits and will be succeeded by Republican Gov.-elect Asa Hutchinson.
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