INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An attorney for Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says an Illinois man must first exhaust all his options in court before the Republican vice presidential candidate will consider a pardon for a robbery the man says he didn’t commit.
Keith Cooper was sentenced to 40 years in prison for a 1996 robbery in Elkhart, Indiana. The Indiana Court of Appeals overturned his co-defendant’s conviction, and Cooper was given the choice of being released with a felony record or a new trial. He chose to be released.
Pence general counsel Mark Ahearn wrote to Cooper’s lawyer, Elliot Slosar, that Cooper must first seek post-conviction relief in court before a pardon is considered.
Slosar says he and Cooper are disappointed Pence wouldn’t “provide justice to an innocent man.”
Pence spokesman Mathew Lloyd pointed out that it wasn’t a final decision by the governor.