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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers issues eight more pardons for marijuana, theft, tax fraud felonies
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GOVERNOR | EXECUTIVE CLEMENCY

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers issues eight more pardons for marijuana, theft, tax fraud felonies

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After breaking a nine-year drought of gubernatorial pardons in Wisconsin in October, Gov. Tony Evers issued eight more pardons Friday to men and women who committed felonies between 13 and 30 years ago.

That brings the total number of pardons issued by Evers so far to 12. Previous Gov. Scott Walker did not issue any pardons during his eight years in office.

In a private signing session, Evers granted clemency to five women and three men who had marijuana, tax fraud or theft-related charges on their records, but have since completed their sentences, built new lives for themselves and contributed to their communities.

Two of the recipients, Annette Wilburn and Kathryn Morrow, came to Evers’ office in person for the signing.

A pardon doesn’t clear a conviction from someone’s record, but it is an official grant of forgiveness that restores certain rights, such as the ability to own a gun, serve on a jury, hold public office and hold certain professional licenses or positions.

Pardon

Rev. Mwangi Vasser, who wanted clemency for selling cocaine when he was 19, displays his pardon signed by Gov. Tony Evers in October. Vasser wants to become a chaplain in the military. Evers issued eight more pardons Friday in a private signing session.  

Iraq War veteran Eric Pizer, for instance, will now be able to pursue his dream of being a police officer after Evers issued him a pardon in October for a punch he threw when he was 23 that broke a man’s nose after a night of drinking — just two days after he got back from a war zone.

Although the conviction still shows up on someone’s record after a pardon, applicants often say having forgiveness from the governor on their record makes them more attractive to employers.

The eight who were pardoned Friday were among 10 applicants whose requests were heard by the Pardon Advisory Board on Oct. 14. One of Pizer’s attorneys, David Relles, said the hearing is a rigorous process, where the board asks tough questions of applicants.

Those pardoned Friday for marijuana possession are:

  • Doyle Sprewer, 45, who was convicted of possessing THC with intent to deliver 16 years ago. He went on to get his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in religious-based education programs, and currently works as a community outreach coordinator for a homeless shelter in Milwaukee. He also volunteers with the YMCA and Christ the King Baptist Church. He asked for the pardon to improve his chances of becoming a firefighter in Milwaukee.
  • Mark Scharhag, who turns 53 on Monday and was caught dealing marijuana when he was 33 and charged with possession. He has since completed probation, worked for 25 years as a heavy equipment operator in Milwaukee and retired in 2017.
  • Dwight Allen, 36, who was convicted of possessing THC and carrying a concealed weapon when he was 22. He completed probation and has since gotten married. He now lives in Georgia and is awaiting a heart transplant for advanced heart problems.

Those pardoned for theft/burglary-related convictions are:

  • Morrow, 36, who broke into her parents’ home when she was 23 and stole from them because of a drug addiction. She has since completed extensive rehabilitation. She went on to receive her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and now works as a prevention education specialist. The pardon will help her pursue a career in nursing.
  • Cheryl Blazekovic, 59, who helped steal and sell hot tubs from a local business in Waukesha County in 2002. She completed probation and paid restitution in full. Blazekovic has been working as a paralegal for multiple law firms and the Medical College of Wisconsin. The pardon will help her get a notary license, which her current and past employers said was necessary for her work.

Those pardoned for tax fraud are:

  • Wilburn, 65, who was convicted of failing to report receipt of income in 1989. She completed probation and paid restitution in full. Since 1990, she has maintained a license as a home family childcare provider. She is an active member of her church and the childcare advocacy community. The pardon will help her maintain her license and continue working as a childcare provider.
  • Camillia Shareef, 51, who was convicted of failing to report receipt of income and food stamp fraud in 1992, when she was in her early 20s. She completed probation and paid restitution in full. For the past 18 years, Shareef has been a Milwaukee parking enforcement officer.
  • Candace Roundtree, 59, who was convicted of failing to report receipt of income in her early 20s. She also completed probation and paid restitution in full. She now works as a sales manager at Macy’s and is a caregiver for her mother.
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Emily Hamer is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal. She joined the paper in April 2019 and was formerly an investigative reporting intern at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

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