Judge Conley pardoned by Big Ern…
Well, never let it be said that it’s more about what you’ve done than who you know. Apparently, being a "friend"…(aka, Republican)…of outgoing (and now GONE) Kentucky Governor Ernie "Hey, they did it, too!" Fletcher can have its benefits. If you’ve been a supporter of Fletcher over the years, and you need a little help, he can make it happen.
Now don’t misunderstand. It isn’t like Fletcher is the first Governor to play these cards…granting pardons and placing friends in high-ranking positions right before leaving office. I guess it just smells a little worse this time, considering all of the hot water he’s been in during his term in office.
Fletcher appointed more than 120 people, including former aides and political supporters, to various boards and commissions on Monday, December 10…a day before leaving office. Most of these positions carry terms that last a few years.
The Governor also pardoned or commuted the sentences of over 100 individuals. Amongst those receiving a pardon (http://www.kentucky.com/601/story/255431.html) was Morgan County’s Judge Executive, Tim Conley. Conley was pardoned for a crime that he claims to have never even committed,
In an article on the Herald-Leader web site, Judge Conley said:
"As you know they will again attempt to load a grand jury and attempt to indict me."
This was written by Conley in his pardon request to Fletcher, sent on December the 3.
The article continues:
One person pardoned by Fletcher hasn’t even been convicted of a crime.
Morgan County Judge-Executive Timothy Conley, a two-term incumbent who is the first Republican to be elected judge-executive in Morgan County in decades, was indicted in May on three counts of abuse of public trust. The indictments were dismissed on a technicality, but special prosecutor Brent Turner has pledged to renew the charges.
In a separate article detailing Governor Fletcher’s pardons, Judge Conley was also mentioned:
Fletcher also pardoned Morgan County Judge-Executive Timothy Conley, a Republican who has given more than $1,500 to Fletcher’s campaigns over the years. Conley was indicted in May on three counts of abuse of public trust, but the charges were later dismissed. Conley declined to comment on the pardon.
Again, I’m not saying Judge Conley did anything wrong or inappropriate by requesting the pardon…around 1000 people wrote to Fletcher requesting one. I was more put off about the comment of there being possible attempts at "loading a grand jury" in order to indict the judge. Just who is loading this grand jury exactly?
For that matter, Judge Conley may be completely innocent of the charges that were brought against him in the first place. It does seem a little bit strange, however, to request to be pardoned from something which you claim to be innocent of, even going so far as to throw a community fish fry as a declaration of victory and innocence, even though the case had never gone to trial, all the while knowing the case hadn’t actually been dismissed and could be brought before a grand jury again.
Truth be told, I’d say there was probably a fairly good chance this issue would have never gone to trial again, but one never knows. So, I guess it is better to be safe than sorry…even if you are innocent.