MADISON (WKOW) – After nearly a decade of no pardons in Wisconsin, Governor Tony Evers says he will use his executive power to issue pardons.
“We will grant pardons,” Evers said Tuesday.
During his eight years in office ending last month, Republican Gov. Scott Walker refused to even consider pardon requests, maintaining the actions of the criminal justice system were the most appropriate final outcomes for individuals convicted of crimes.
Walker did not fill slots on the state’s pardons advisory board.
“We will get that board up and running and utilize the constitutional authority that the governor has,” democrat Evers says.
The Associated Press reports in the past twenty-five years, two Republican governors combined to issue 86 pardons, and Democratic Governor Jim Doyle issued nearly 300.
“I think most people in the state understand that people are going to be rehabilitated, need a second chance,” Gov. Evers says. “This gives people the second chance.”
Brendan Dassey has spent more than a decade in prison for killing photographer Teresa Halbach when Dassey was 16. Dassey’s claims of innocence were highlighted in the Netflix series Making a Murderer. Dassey’s legal appeals have been exhausted, absent new evidence. “There is certainly the possibility of applying for clemency or commutation of his sentence to the governor of Wisconsin,” says Juvenile Law Center attorney Marsha Levick.
Evers declines to say whether he would entertain a pardon request from Dassey.
“I won’t pick out anybody and suggesting they apply,” Gov. Evers says. “People will be able to apply and the board will make recommendations.”
Evers did not say when he expected the board to be reconstituted and accepting pardon applications.