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Kenosha woman receives pardon from Gov. Evers for teen theft case
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Kenosha woman receives pardon from Gov. Evers for teen theft case

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A Kenosha woman, recognized for turning her life around after missteps as a teen, is among the most recent recipients of a gubernatorial pardon for past criminal infractions.

Erika Hinz was among 15 people who received pardons that were announced last week.

The Governor’s Pardon Advisory Board heard from applicants virtually on Sept. 10, and applications that were selected for expedited review or recommended by the board were forwarded to Evers for final consideration. As of Oct. 8, Evers has granted 278 pardons.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has been granting pardons at a torrid pace after his predecessor didn't issue any for eight years and has announced new moves to streamline and simplify the pardon application process.

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 expunge court records.

According to the governor’s office, Hinz was 17 and in high school when she and a friend took a classmate’s and a teacher’s purses and spent the money they took. She has since earned her bachelor’s degree and volunteers at her children’s school in Kenosha.

Other pardons

Evers also granted pardons to the following people:

Dominic McFerrin was 17 when he took a car from a dealership and helped a friend take merchandise without paying for it from the electronics store where he worked. He has since obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, earned the support of the district attorney’s office, and currently is a special education teacher in Milwaukee where he lives with his family.

Rahn Hortman was 19 nearly 30 years ago when he and some friends robbed a woman, taking her purse. Now a father and a grandfather, he owns his own business by day and works on his stand-up comedy by night. He lives in New Port Richey, Florida.

Rodney Poe was 17 when he and a friend robbed two men. He has since joined the Grammy award-winning R&B group Blackstreet, mentored children and incarcerated people, and opened a barbershop. He lives in Milwaukee.

Shane Rabe was 22 when he refused to pull over for a police officer. He has worked for over two decades as a driver and lives in Oshkosh with his family.

Alicia Sorel was 26 when she was found in possession of a controlled substance. She now works as a manufacturing technician and lives in Green Bay with her rescue dogs.

Thomas Pocian was 17 when he accepted and cashed stolen checks and 43 when he illegally possessed a gun. He has earned the support of the victim of his crime and is now a small business owner living in Kewaskum.

Dale Schott was 20 when he sold controlled substances to an undercover officer and 29 when a search of his residence revealed controlled substances. Now a father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, he has the support of the court on his pardon. He lives in Sobieski where he farms yellow perch.

Crystal Duran was 17 and pregnant when she translated to facilitate her boyfriend’s sale of controlled substances. She now works as a caregiver and lives with her family in Sheboygan.

James Stewart was struggling to make ends meet in his early 30s when he was found in possession of a controlled substance. He has earned his CNA license and lives in Milwaukee.

Keith French was 28 when a search of his home revealed controlled substances. He has since earned an associate degree and professional certificate, retired from a successful career in printing, and now works part-time for the school district where he lives in Hudson.

Bertha Redd was 24 and raising her three kids alone when she failed to report income and obtained excess food stamps. In addition to raising her children, she has earned her associate degree and is working toward her bachelor’s degree. She lives in Milwaukee, where she has worked for the city for over 10 years.

Anthony Regalia was 25 when a search of his home turned up controlled substances. He has since focused on his family and employment as an industrial mechanic. He lives in Wisconsin Rapids.

Alinda Masse was 19 nearly 30 years ago when she was caught in possession of a controlled substance. She has since earned her associate degree and maintained consistent employment while raising her son in Cedarburg.

Evan Williams was a senior in high school at 18 when he was caught in possession of a controlled substance. He has earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees and plans to pursue a Ph.D. He works as a senior sales executive and lives with his family in Wauwatosa.

About the pardon process

Under Executive Order No. 30, 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. Executive Order No. 130 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 at www.evers.wi.gov/Pages/pardon-information.aspx.

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