Shefa v. EllisonAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court held that the unanimity requirement in Minn. Stat. 638.02m, subd. 1 does violate either Minn. Const. art. V, 7 or Minn. Const. art. III, 1.
Defendant was convicted of first-degree manslaughter. When Defendant later filed an application for a pardon absolute, the members of the Board of Pardons denied it. Attorney General Keith Ellison and Governor Tim Walz voted to grant the application, and Chief Justice Lorie Gildea voted to deny it. Defendant's application was ultimately denied. Defendant then filed an action for declaratory and injunctive relief. The district court held (1) the unanimity requirement violates article V, section 7, which gives the governor sufficient and separate power to grant pardons; and (2) the unanimity requirement violates article III, section 1 because the state Constitution explicitly provides for the chief justice's participation in the pardon process. The Supreme Court reversed in part and affirmed in part, holding that the statutory provisions did not violate article V, section 7 or article III, section 1 of the Minnesota Constitution.