Gov. Evers grants 71 pardons, signs executive order expediting pardon process

NOW: Gov. Evers grants 71 pardons, signs executive order expediting pardon process

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced he has granted another 71 pardons on Tuesday, Sept. 7, bringing the total number of granted pardons to 263 since the Governor's Pardon Advisory Board was announced in 2019.

Officials say the governor is on target to pardon more people in his first term than any governor in contemporary history. 

“Hearing from any one of our pardon recipients you'll hear stories of redemption, service to others, and hope for the future,” said Gov. Evers. “As I said when I reinstated the pardon board, I believe in forgiveness and the power of redemption, and I believe the people of Wisconsin do, too. So, I am glad to announce today that with this latest group of 71 pardon recipients, our total number of pardons is now 263 and counting.”

The Board heard from applicants virtually May through August, and applicants the Board recommended for pardon were forwarded to Gov. Evers for final consideration. Information about each of the 71 recipients is available here

In addition to granting 71 pardons over the past four months, officials say the governor signed Executive Order #130, making changes to the pardon process. The executive order creates a new, expedited process for applications that meet stricter criteria. 

According to officials, under the new process, the chair of the Pardon Advisory Board may send an application directly to the governor without a board hearing if the applicant committed only a non-violent offense and sufficient time has passed since the conviction. The executive order can be found here

A new application is being issued which expands pardon eligibility to ensure individuals who have completed all their sentences after five years has passed, officials say. Previously, individuals could only be pardoned for their most recent felony.

“After nine years of the board sitting dormant, there are a lot of people out there looking and hoping for their second chance,” said Gov. Evers. “Throughout the two years of the Board, we have learned about some areas where we can improve the process to streamline it and help ensure we can get pardons to those who are deserving, including allowing those with low-level, nonviolent offenses to be sent directly to my desk for consideration, as well as making a correction that was preventing folks from receiving pardons not because their crimes were more serious or because they posed a greater risk to the community, but due to the timing of their convictions and sentencing.”

The Governor’s Pardon Advisory Board will continue to meet virtually monthly and will be reconvening again on September 10, 2021. 

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