Breaking With Tradition, Former Maine Governor Pardoned at Least 2 People Without Hearings

Maine’s Constitution says the governor has the sole power to grant reprieves, pardons and commutations, so former Gov. Paul LePage did not break the law, but he broke with tradition.
April 15, 2019 AT 7:07 AM

By Marina Villeneuve

The former governor of Maine pardoned two people in his last days in office without going through the traditional process of consulting the clemency board and holding a public hearing, according to the state’s corrections department.

Maine’s Constitution says the governor has the sole power to grant reprieves, pardons and commutations, so former Gov. Paul LePage did not break the law in pardoning his late mentor’s grandson, Jeremy Mills, and a former GOP lawmaker, Jeff Pierce.

But he broke with tradition: Leonard Sharon, who served as chairman of the Governor’s Board of Executive Clemency until June, said he never saw a governor grant a pardon without a board recommendation and a public hearing during his 27½-year tenure, which ended in mid-2018.

“The process is very open and the pardon board carefully weighs applications and holds hearings when we feel there are substantial circumstances,” Sharon said.

Sharon said the hearings give people a chance to speak against pardons.

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