Pardoning Tim Pawlenty

The governor should not be blamed for a pardon recipient’s alleged abuses.

by Daily Editorial Board

Jeremy Giefer was 19 when he was charged with having sex with a 14-year-old girl heâÄôd one day marry. With no other sex crimes on his record, he requested a pardon in 2008 so his wife could open a daycare center in their home. Under the circumstances, it certainly wasnâÄôt unreasonable for Gov. Tim Pawlenty to grant the request.
Now a prosecutor has charged Giefer with sexually abusing his daughter before and after the pardon was issued. The Star Tribune broke the news, but instead of diving into the issue at hand and examining the horrible situation Giefer allegedly put this girl through, they focused on the potential political repercussions for Pawlenty. Other local media picked up on the story, and soon it went national. Everyone is asking, obtusely, why Pawlenty would dare pardon a manâÄôs decade-old statutory rape charge in the context of the sexual assault charges.
ItâÄôs entirely unfair to say Pawlenty âÄî and the stateâÄôs Attorney General and Supreme Court Chief Justice, who also supported the pardon âÄî should have known of GieferâÄôs hidden abuses and denied his pardon request in return. Governors are empowered with pardoning offenses as they see fit. ItâÄôs a good-faith measure meant to tell someone their debt to society has been paid. Pawlenty couldnâÄôt possibly have known about the alleged abuses Giefer put his daughter through; no one, especially a governor with presidential ambitions, would have been so daft as to pardon him then.
Giefer served his time in prison and Pawlenty fairly pardoned him for an innocuous offense. The terrible things Giefer allegedly did behind closed doors were not because of the pardon. They should not be put at PawlentyâÄôs feet.