Sunday, September 01, 2013

Daniels Awarded Pardon To Convicted Drug Dealer Whose Family Contributed Big Bucks To His Campaign

The Journal-Gazette's Niki Kelly has a story about a pardon Gov. Mitch Daniels issued in the last days of his administration to 37-year old Anthony Nefouse, who pleaded guilty to a Class B felony after being arrested for selling cocaine to an undercover drug informant when he was 19 years old. He was originally charged with a Class A felony, which carried a sentence between 20 and 50 years. Instead, he received a 12-year suspended sentence with strict probation. Obviously, he had political connections from the get-go or he wouldn't have avoided jail time altogether. Daniels attended North Central High School with Nefouse's uncle and later became friends with his father, Lonnie, who owns an insurance company. Lonnie contributed $13,000 to Gov. Daniels' campaigns and Anthony kicked in another $300.

According to Kelly's story, Mickey Maurer, a long-time friend of the Nefouse family who served as Daniels' first Indiana Economic Development Corporation president, filed the petition requesting the pardon on Nefouse's behalf. He knows the family well and testified at Nefouse's original sentencing hearing which allowed him to avoid any jail time for dealing cocaine. Daniels claims he was unaware of the campaign contributions from the Nefouse family when he granted the pardon.  “I never heard one word from anyone in the family. Maybe because they were properly skittish of doing so,” he said.

During his eight years as governor, Daniels handed out 62 pardons, most of which were for minor offenses. Eleven of the pardons were for drug-related offenses according to Kelly, although only three related to drug dealing. Daniels granted Nefouse's pardon in December, 2012 just weeks before leaving office. The Indiana media ignored Daniels' most notorious pardon, the 2007 pardon he gave to local AFSCME president Stephen Quick at the urging of several of Indiana's top Republicans. Quick had been convicted of a strong-armed robbery in downtown Indianapolis, which resulted in the near shooting death of a local woman. Then-prosecutor Stephen Goldsmith struck an unusual plea deal with Quick that allowed him to plead guilty to a Class C felony and receive a prison sentence of only 2 years, one year of which was suspended. Quick had also been charged, along with his brother, in the shooting death of an Indianapolis man in the parking lot of a local liquor store. The murder charge filed against Quick and his brother was later thrown out due to a problem with the evidence. The case remains unsolved to this day. Quick, who later became a city employee, became a close ally of Goldsmith during his privatization efforts as Indianapolis mayor despite his leadership role in the local union that supposedly represented city employees.

I think many people are overcharged in drug cases, but obviously this wasn't the case with Nefouse. He came from a wealthy family and had no excuse for dealing cocaine other than life was so rough for him that he had to turn to drugs. Of course, Gov. Daniels is no stranger to drugs. When he was about the same age as Nefouse, he and two of his roommates at Princeton University were arrested for dealing drugs out of their dorm room after an undercover police investigation by New Jersey State Police and local police that extended over five-month. The officer in charge of the investigation claimed Daniels and his roommates had been dealing pot, LSD and prescription drugs out of their dorm room. Daniels wound up spending a couple of nights in jail while awaiting his father's arrival to post bond. He later got the charges reduced to a misdemeanor charge and paid a $350 fine. The officer who handled the investigation was not at all pleased with the plea deal. Daniels got his start in politics working for Keith Bulen's political consulting business, a local party boss with close ties to the corrupt Nixon White House who made millions from his even closer ties to Richard Lugar, for whom Daniels later worked.


Anonymous said...

this kind of stuff happens all the time in Louisiana, except the campaign donation goes to Supreme Court candidates there.

Matt Haylett said...

Sounds Similar To My case. Except the connections. I'm 37 and got in trouble once when I was 21. Class B felony did time probation etc. Not any trouble since. Pardon sure would help me out. Think his parents would adopt me.