Evers pardons 171 Wisconsin convicts, total now 774

Gov. Tony Evers

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced Thursday, Dec. 29 that he has granted another 171 pardons – bringing his total number of pardons granted to 774 – a news release stated.

Evers had already issued more pardons than any Wisconsin governor in modern history. The vast majority of those pardons were granted to people convicted of lower level, nonviolent crimes.

The state constitution grants the governor the power to pardon individuals convicted of a crime. A pardon, the release explained, is an official act of forgiveness that restores rights lost when someone is convicted of a felony, including the right to serve on a jury, hold public office and hold certain professional licenses. A pardon does not expunge court records.

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Statement from Evers:

"A pardon is both an act of forgiveness and an acknowledgment that an individual has done the work to make amends for a past mistake and put forth the effort to be a positive contributor in their community.

"It’s an important tool to not only live out our Wisconsin values of empathy, compassion, and respect, but to open the doors of opportunity for individuals, their families, and their communities. I am proud of the work we’ve done over the past four years to give so many a second chance and look forward to continuing this work in the new year." 

Under an executive order, individuals convicted of a Wisconsin felony may apply for a pardon if they completed their sentence at least five years ago and have no pending criminal charges. Individuals currently required to register on the sex offender registry are ineligible for a pardon, the release said. Another executive order established an expedited review process for applications that meet stricter criteria, including a greater length of time elapsed since sentence completion and nonviolent nature of the offenses. 

The pardon application, instructions and answers to frequently asked questions about the pardon process can be found on the governor’s website.

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The list of pardon recipients is available online.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.