By Shereen Siewert

Gov. Tony Evers, in a private signing on Friday, issued pardons for eight men and women convicted of felony charges between 13 and 30 years ago.

The latest pardons bring Evers’ total to 12. The five women and three men had tax fraud, marijuana and theft related charges on their records but have since completed their sentences.

Pardons do not clear convictions from a person’s record, but does restore a number of rights including the ability to hold public office, own a gun, serve on a jury and hold certain professional licenses.

Ten applicants’ requests were heard Oct. 14 by the Pardon Advisory Board. The eight people pardoned this week were among that group.

According to the Wisconsin State Journal the people pardoned Friday include a 45-year-old man who was convicted of possessing marijuana with intent to deliver 16 years ago. After his conviction, he earned a master’s degree in education and works as a community outreach coordinator for a homeless shelter. He asked for the pardon to improve his chances of becoming a firefighter. Also pardoned was a 36-yaer-old woman who broke into her parents home when she was 23 and stole from them because of a drug addiction. The woman went on to complete extensive rehabilitation, earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and works as a prevention education specialist. The pardon will allow her to pursue a career in nursing.

A pardon granted to Iraq War veteran Eric Pizer in October for a punch he threw when he was 23, days after returning from a war zone, will allow him to pursue his dream of becoming a police officer.

The pardons issued in October and November are the first to be granted in Wisconsin in nine years.