Kentucky appeals court confirms federal conviction for pardoned man

A Kentucky appeals court has upheld the federal conviction of a pardoned man. The man's 2014 drug robbery killing conviction was pardoned by Kentucky’s former governor.

An appeals court upheld the conviction a man who was pardoned by Kentucky’s former governor for state charges in 2014 for a drug robbery murder but later convicted in federal court.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals panel issued its decision Thursday, deciding against Patrick Baker’s appeal on all points.

After Baker was released from prison, former Gov. Matt Bevin brought federal prosecutors against Baker. Matt Bevin pardoned Baker on his way out in 2019. Baker’s family was politically connected to Bevin and hosted a fundraiser for him.

Baker was convicted by a federal jury in eastern Kentucky of murder during a drugs trafficking crime. He was sentenced to 42 years imprisonment.


A Kentucky appeals court upheld the federal conviction of a man pardoned for a 2014 drug robbery murder.


Baker was convicted in 2017 of recklessly homicide in the death of Donald Mills in a state court. Baker was sentenced to 19-years in prison for reckless homicide in Donald Mills’ death. However, Bevin’s pardon freed him and erased his conviction. Bevin called Baker’s evidence “sketchy,” but the former governor didn’t mention Baker’s ties.

Federal prosecutors stated that Baker was being prosecuted for the second time under “dual sovereignty doctrine,” which permits state and federal officials to pursue the same defendants for the same actions, without violating double jeopardy protections.

The appeals panel rejected Baker’s claim that the federal government had wrongly decided to prosecute him. They also referred to the separate sovereign doctrine, and stated that federal prosecutors have wide discretion when it comes to charging people. They also cited new evidence in the case, and rejected the argument of the defense that the evidence was not sufficient to support a conviction.

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