Governor pardons Idaho men convicted of drug crimes

May 6, 2013 

The two men pardoned Monday served time in prison on drug charges. Both were convicted more than a decade ago, and have since participated in substance abuse programming, paid restitution and successfully completed parole.

Robert Thornton and Eric Hinckley “now have good jobs, solid families, and are contributing members of society,” according to a press release from Gov. Butch Otter's office.

Charged with trafficking methamphetamine in 2002, Hinckley pleaded guilty to two other drug-related charged and was sentenced to up to five years in prison. He was released on parole in 2004.

Thornton pleaded guilty in 1992 to charges related to selling cocaine. Sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, he was granted parole in 1996.

“This is the way it’s supposed to work. We send people to prison to protect the public, for punishment and as a deterrent. But we also send them to prison to be rehabilitated and – we hope – to be redeemed as citizens, neighbors, fathers, husbands, and taxpayers,” Otter was quoted as saying in the press release. “Too often it doesn’t work out that way. But for Robert Thornton and Eric Hinckley, it did. I’m proud of them. I’m confident they’ll stay on track, and I hope they’ll serve as examples to others of how to successfully emerge from our criminal justice system.”

The pardons will not expunge the men’s criminal records, but may open doors for new employment opportunities.

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