Arkansas Governor Will Pardon Son On Felony Drug Charge

By McCarton Ackerman 11/14/14

It's one thing to have friends in high places, quite another to have a governor as your father.

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In what appears on paper to be a classic case of nepotism, Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe announced that he will pardon his son on a felony drug charge stemming from 2003.

A spokesman for the governor confirmed that the pardon for his son, 34-year-old Kyle Beebe, will take place in the next few weeks. Kyle was charged in 2003 with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, which resulted in a fine and three years of supervised probation. But Mike, who will finish out his stint as governor in the next few months, said that the recommendation is coming from the Arkansas Parole Board and was not originally pushed by him.

"I would have done it a long time ago if he'd have asked, but he took his sweet time about asking," he said. "He was embarrassed. He's still embarrassed, and frankly, I was embarrassed and his mother was embarrassed. It’s tough on the families, but hopefully the kids learn.”

However, the governor has pardoned more than 700 offenders throughout his tenure and Kyle did meet all of the requirements that would warrant one. He has avoided any issues with the law since his original charge and has demonstrated a commitment to changing his life.

"Mr. Governor, I am asking for a second chance at life. I am asking for a second chance to be the man that I know that I can be,” wrote Kyle in his pardon application. "At the time of my arrest I was living in a fantasy world, not reality. I was young and dumb. At that time in my life I felt like I was missing something and I tried to fill that emptiness by selling drugs."

Beebe isn’t the only politician to pardon a relative convicted of drug charges. Bill Clinton famously pardoned his half-brother Roger Clinton, who was convicted of dealing cocaine, on his last day in office in January 2001. Roger was arrested in 1985 and had served more than a year in prison for his crime. But after his criminal record was erased, he was charged with drunk driving and disorderly conduct in two separate incidents.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.

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