By Shereen Siewert
A Schofield man was pardoned this week by Gov. Tony Evers, 21 years after being convicted of fleeing an officer.
Lon McEwen, now 46, was 25 years old when he fled in his vehicle while intoxicated and crashed the car in someone’s backyard. Since then, he obtained his CNA license and is working on his degree to become a substance abuse counselor. McEwen is one of nine people granted pardons this week, according to a news release.
The Governor’s Pardon Advisory Board heard from applicants virtually on Sept. 15 with recommendations forwarded to Evers for final consideration.
“I issued my first pardons one year ago and since, we have seen the positive impacts pardons have not just on individuals, but on all of our communities, as folks who have received pardons have pursued new careers and opportunities to serve their neighbors,” Evers said. “A pardon is a second chance for one individual that can have widespread positive impacts and I am glad to be pardoning these nine people today.”
Gov. Evers also granted pardons to the following people:
- Roxanne Johnson was 17 years old when she took checks from her grandfather. Now 42, she has since finished her high school education, started a family, and lives in Grey Bull, Wyoming.
- Shawn Sill was 19 years old when he broke into homes in La Crosse and Vernon County. He was able to complete probation early, and his application received the support of the circuit court and district attorney’s office. Mr. Sill is now 42, lives with his wife and daughter in La Crosse, and works as a machine operator.
- Nichole Miller was a teenager when she participated in a string of offenses related to her drug use. This included a burglary with a friend into the home of an acquaintance to steal a checkbook. Since then, she obtained her bachelor’s degree, developed a career in academia, and is an academic advisor with UW-Eau Claire. Her application came with significant community support, including from her former parole agent, counselors, and professional supervisors and colleagues. Ms. Miller is 35 years old and lives in Eau Claire.
- Dennis Jimenez, now 63, was 20 years old when he and another individual broke into a business after hours. Since then he has had a career as a truck driver and lives with his family in Moore Haven, Florida.
- Bonnie Gray, now 74 years old, was in her early 30’s when she did not report income for a year, which resulted in an over-grant of public assistance. Since then she obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, volunteers with various non-profit and charitable organizations, and previously operated an adult family home in Milwaukee.
- Brandy Walker was 19 when she chased fraudulent checks to a bank. At the time, she was struggling with housing security and pregnant with twins. She is now 31 and lives in Milwaukee with her children and pardon would make it possible for her to establish a childcare business.
- Marcellete McFarland is 53 years old now, but when she was in her mid-twenties, she did not report an increase in her income which resulted in an over-grant of public assistance. She completed probation early, obtained her GED, and would like a pardon to be able to reopen a childcare business. She lives in Milwaukee.
- Wendy Bond, now 42 years old, was 24 when she called police to report a break-in, who once there, found evidence of her significant other’s drug use and dealing. She has since obtained a degree in business management, opened her own business supporting adults with disabilities, and lives in Milwaukee with her husband and child.
To date, the governor has granted 74 pardons.
The Wisconsin Constitution grants the governor the power to pardon individuals convicted of a crime. A pardon is an official act of forgiveness that restores some of the rights that are 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 result in an expungement and convictions are still visible on the state’s circuit court website.
People convicted of a Wisconsin felony can apply for a pardon if they completed their sentence at least five years ago and have not committed any new crimes. Individuals currently required to register on the sex offender registry are ineligible for a pardon.
The pardon application and instructions for applying are located on the Governor’s website: www.evers.wi.gov/Pages/pardon-information.aspx.
The Governor’s Pardon Advisory Board will continue to meet virtually monthly. The Board will be reconvening again on Oct. 13 and will be available to watch on wiseye.org/live.