‘A pardon can be a powerful message’: Gov. Evers issues 29 more pardons, bringing total to 307
MADISON, Wis. — Thanks to 29 additional pardons announced Friday, Gov. Tony Evers has now issued more pardons in his first three years than his previous two predecessors did in their combined 16 years in office.
Since re-starting the Governor’s Pardon Advisory Board in 2019, Evers has issued a total of 307 pardons. Gov. Scott Walker didn’t issue a single pardon during his eight years in office, and Gov. Jim Doyle issued nearly 300 over the course of his two terms.
“A pardon can be a powerful message for individuals who have worked hard to establish themselves as contributing members of their community—one that recognizes that people are more than their past and acknowledges their efforts to build a brighter future,” Evers said. “I am proud to grant these 29 pardons today and the more than 300 pardons I’ve been able to grant since 2019. Reaching this milestone is a tremendous feat, and we’ll work to continue this important process.”
In September, Evers announced plans to streamline and simplify the pardon application process. The application, instructions and answers to common questions about the process are available on the governor’s website.
In Wisconsin, pardons serve as an official act of forgiveness that restores a person’s right to hold public office, hold certain professional licenses, serve on a jury and more. Pardon’s do not expunge court records.
Evers granted pardons to the following 29 people:
- Lateasha Nicole was 28 when she was found in possession of marijuana. A successful small businesswoman, she continues to give back to her community helping domestic violence survivors and those struggling with substance use in Racine.
- Anthony Keys was 27 when he sold a controlled substance to undercover officers to try to make ends meet to support his family. In the 18 years since, he has volunteered with youth in his community in Milwaukee and found rewarding work as a personal caregiver.
- Alan Torres was 20 when he and friends took and drove a vehicle that did not belong to them and attempted to take another vehicle. He has been a reliable employee at the same company for over fifteen years and lives with his family in West Bend.
- Kenn Denniston was 20 when he took a check from his roommate, made it out to himself, and cashed it, then later issued his own checks without sufficient funds. He started and runs his own video production company in Middleton, where he lives with his family.
- Matthew Ryan struggled in his mid-twenties with substance use and took money for contracted work without completing the project before writing a series of checks without sufficient funds in his account. He is a veteran and a small business owner who lives with his family in Saukville.
- Benjamin Reinwand was 20 when he and two other individuals sold a controlled substance to undercover officers. A veteran of the U.S. Army, he takes care of his nephews while his active-duty sister is deployed overseas. He lives in Marshfield.
- Yussef Morales was 20 when he was pulled over and an officer found marijuana in the vehicle. An active community leader, he founded the Wisconsin Puerto Rican Festival, flew to Puerto Rico to help after Hurricane Maria with the Red Cross, and today, coaches youth sports. He lives with his family in West Allis.
- Cortni Crum was 23 when she took checks from a classmate’s purse and used them without permission. She earned her associate degree and has made significant contributions to her community in Milwaukee as a volunteer.
- Caroline Williams was 18 when she took her college roommate’s credit card and made unauthorized purchases. A mother of three, she has owned and operated a small business for fifteen years in Milwaukee.
- Latoya Williams was 27 when she was found in possession of controlled substances. She earned the support of the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office for her pardon. A mother of four, she lives in Milwaukee and works as a caregiver, aspiring to open her own daycare.
- Marchele Zeeb-Wilks was 36 when she and another individual cashed checks without the permission of the account holder. Now a grandmother, she works as a caregiver in her hometown of Milwaukee and hopes to start a group home for children. She earned the support of the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office for her pardon.
- Hope Wachendorf was 22 when she helped her friend sell marijuana. She is now a project assistant in the construction industry and looks forward to becoming a notary public. She and her two daughters live in Waukesha.
- Marsha Ashley was 21 when she escalated a verbal altercation with her daughter’s school principal to a physical one. She earned her associate degree as a medical administrative assistant, works for a warehousing company, and volunteers at homeless shelters. A mother and grandmother, she and her family live in Milwaukee.
- Brandi Shisler was 19 when she made unauthorized purchases on her college roommate’s father’s credit card. After graduation, she went to work in human resources and got involved in her daughter’s school. She lives with her family in Everett, Washington.
- Steven Zoske was 20 when he attempted to obtain a controlled substance with a fraudulent prescription and 23 when he was found in possession of another controlled substance. After completing a recovery program, he stayed on as the house manager to mentor others through his experience. A shipping manager, he lives in Waterford with his wife and new twins.
- Wayne Weidner was 29 when he sold marijuana to undercover officers over 30 years ago. He earned the support of the Washington County District Attorney’s Office for his pardon and has long been a caregiver to family in Menomonee Falls—even after surviving two heart attacks himself.
- Steven Beloungy was 20 when he sold a controlled substance to an undercover officer and 30 when he unlawfully purchased a firearm. More than 30 years later, he has started his own jerky business, owned a sandwich shop, and worked across the service industry. He lives in Lodi with his wife and dreams of operating an outfitter lodge.
- Dominic Orrico was 35 when he sold a controlled substance to an informant. After helping law enforcement, he raised his son as a single parent and earned his associate degree before working in the medical field until his retirement in 2018. He was an active member of the U.S. Army Reserve until 2008 and now lives in Sparta, where he continues to play music and hopes to one day run for public office.
- Stephen Rowe was 23 when he sold a controlled substance to an undercover officer on three occasions. In the almost 40 years since, he has worked as a mortgage consultant and is now aiming to enter the insurance agency. He lives in Azusa, California, where he is active in the local theater.
- Dwayne Bland, Jr., was 17 when he sold a controlled substance to an undercover officer. He now owns a small business and works as a sales agent for a health insurance company. A published journalist covering social issues, he is also an active volunteer in his home community of Madison.
- Tarah Hillard was 20 when she sold marijuana to an undercover officer. While working as a bartender, she has studied for a culinary arts degree and aspires to start her own catering company. She lives in Milwaukee with her three kids.
- Kermiath McClendon was 22 when he was found in possession of a controlled substance. In the 19 years since, he has completed his associate and bachelor’s degrees and become active in his community. He is a program officer with a community organization, while also having worked for and sat on the board of other similar organizations, including a previous job in economic development with the city of Milwaukee. He lives in Glendale, where he raises his young cousin.
- Nicholas Stauff was 20 when he sold a controlled substance to a confidential informant while attending UW-Whitewater. He completed his bachelor’s degree and has worked his way up to vice president in his career. He lives in Pewaukee with his wife and two children.
- Benjamin Schmidt was 19 when officers found marijuana in his apartment. He now works as an insurance underwriter and looks forward to completing his degree in Spanish. He lives in Plover with his wife and daughter.
- Sandra Gillespie was 31 when she failed to report her income, resulting in a grant of public assistance to which she was not lawfully entitled. She has since completed nursing school and is excited to advance her career in that field. She lives with her children in Milwaukee.
- Tom Thomas was 25 when he sold marijuana to a confidential informant. He has been a network architect for a credit union for over ten years, and he now lives in Roseville, California with his wife and daughter.
- Czaka Bogan was 19 when she was convicted of maintaining a drug trafficking place. She has since received her CNA license and has worked as a caregiver for over ten years. She lives in Racine.
- Alan Moore was 19 when he sold controlled substances to a confidential informant. He has raised his four children and worked in manufacturing for 25 years. He now lives in Two Rivers.
- Richard Reid was 19 when he was found in possession of a controlled substance more than 30 years ago. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona, where he runs his own event promotion and marketing business.
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