Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe (D) blamed bad parenting for a young man’s drug crimes and eventual conviction for possessing marijuana with the intent to deliver, as Beebe added his name to a list of convicted felons who will be pardoned.
Beebe also said the pardon of the man, who was arrested 11 years ago and is now 34, was no different then any of the other two dozen paroles he is granting at the end of the year – except this felon, Kyle Beebe, is his son.
Not only did he forgive Kyle Beebe for his crimes, Gov. Beebe said he would have pardoned his son a long time ago if he had only asked. But, Gov. Beebe added, his son “took his own sweet time.”
“He was embarrassed. He’s still embarrassed, and frankly, I was embarrassed and his mother was embarrassed,” Beebe said. “All of the families that go through that, it’s tough on the families, but hopefully the kids learn.”
Beebe said in the case of Kyle Beebe, at least, the parents are partly to blame.
He told Little Rock television station KATV that his wife was “an enabler that tried to fix everything. I was a nuclear bomb-thrower that thought you ought to shoot him.”
“Somewhere between those extremes was probably the right place to be,” said Beebe.
Gov. Beebe added that he was willing to forgive his son for the mistakes he made, and Kyle Beebe wrote in his application for a pardon that he had committed errors in his life.
“At the time of my arrest I was living in a fantasy world, not reality,” Kyle Beebe wrote. “I was young and dumb.”
Forgiveness is at the heart of a legal pardon no matter where it is granted in the United States or by whom.
A pardon is a method by which a governor of a state or the president of the United States, anyone in executive authority, can forgive someone convicted of a crime and restore his or her civil rights.
It is does not mean the person was wrongfully convicted.
Not only did Gov. Beebe have to treat his son as any other felon asking for parole, but when his son was arrested he had to treat him like any other criminal suspect.
Kyle Beebe was arrested in 2003 while his father was serving as Arkansas’ attorney general. The charge was felony possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. He completed his probation in 2006.
The pardon means Kyle Beebe’s rights may be restored under Arkansas law, including the right to own a firearm.
Gov. Beebe announced his intention to issue 25 pardons on Nov. 5. His son’s name was not on the list at that time.
A spokesman for the Arkansas Parole Board said Kyle Beebe’s case was handled the same as any other case would be handled.
The parole board had no objection to the pardon recommendation and approved it in October.
“It will probably be done in the next few weeks,” Matt DeCample, a spokesman for the governor, told CNN.
“For any pardons, the person has to have finished all terms of their sentence and then have a period of time where they’ve shown they have straightened their lives out.”
Beebe told KATV that he has authorized more than 700 pardons during his three terms as governor, mostly for nonviolent offenses.
However, there are some felons getting pardons this time who break that rule.
A woman who was convicted of negligent homicide will be pardoned, as will another woman convicted of battery along with possession of cocaine with intent to deliver.
But the rest of felons on the list have all done their time and mostly were put in prison for drug-related offenses.
There was one name on the pardon list that has been removed. Gov. Beebe’s office says a convicted sex offender, Michael Jackson, who was convicted of “Internet stalking of a child,” will not be pardoned yet.
The prosecuting attorney and sheriff who were involved in the case filed objections to Jackson’s pardon.
None of the names on Gov. Beebe’s 2014 list of pardons should be as controversial as the names pardoned by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
A dozen of the people on the Huckabee pardon list were convicted murders.
Huckabee was also criticized for pushing for the parole of a convicted rapist and murderer who went on to rape and kill two women after his release and pardon.
Beebe won his first gubernatorial election in 2006. He will leave office at the end of the year because of a three-term limit for Arkansas governors.
Ironically, Gov. Beebe will be replaced by Republican Asa Hutchinson, who served as director of the Drug Enforcement Administration in George W. Bush’s administration after serving in Congress.
Hutchinson won the Arkansas gubernatorial election Nov. 4.