ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that unanimous votes are required for the state Board of Pardons to grant clemency. Justices overruled a lower court that had declared the 124-year-old standard to be unconstitutional.
The order means that the three board members all must agree to grant a pardon. Amreya Shefa sued after she was denied a pardon in 2020 on a 2-1 vote in the killing of her husband, whom she accused of repeated sexual abuse.READ MORE: Minnesota Supreme Court Weighs Future Of Board Of Pardons’ Decision-Making
Her attorney says she’s likely to be deported to Ethiopia, where she fears her husband’s relatives will kill her.
Gov. Tim Walz sided with Shefa in the case. Attorneys for Chief Justice Lorie Skerven Gildea and Attorney General Keith Ellison argued the lower court ruling should be reversed because the constitution gives the legislature the authority to set the rules about the board’s powers — and the process lawmakers chose to implement is a decision by unanimous vote.
Pete Farrell, counsel for Ellison, pointed to the origins of the current constitutional text, which was passed by voters as an amendment in 1896 to put a check on the governor’s power.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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