A Bonneville County man is one of two convicted felons who has been pardoned by Governor Butch Otter at the unanimous recommendation of the Idaho Commission for Pardons and Parole.
Eric Robert Hinckley was charged with trafficking methamphetamine on Dec. 10, 2002. Hinckley entered into a plea agreement which included a reduction of the charge to one count of delivery of a controlled substance and one count of aiding and abetting in the delivery of a controlled substance.
Hinckley was sentenced to 12 years in prison with the possibility of parole after three years. Hinckley was granted parole on September 7, 2004, after completing a drug treatment program, paying his restitution in full. Eventually he was given an early discharge by the Parole Commission on March 3, 2008.
“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,” the Governor said. “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.”
Governor Otter granted the pardons at the unanimous recommendation of the Idaho Commission for Pardons and Parole and after thorough review of their records. The Governor spelled out the history of the case and his reasons for granting clemency to Hinckley in a document attached to this story.
A pardon does not expunge criminal charges, convictions and sentences from an individual’s record, but it does provide official acknowledgement and recognition of significant rehabilitation and change. That offers important context for potential employers and opens new career possibilities for former offenders.
Robert Thornton was pardoned of two counts of delivery of a controlled substance ouf of Ada County for which he served two years in prison, completed community service and paid full restitution.