Gov. Evers grants nine more pardons

Evers Covid

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Tony Evers granted nine pardons this week, according to a release Wednesday morning.

The Governor’s Pardon Advisory Board listened virtually from applicants on July 21, a release said. Applicants who were recommended for pardon were given to Evers for final consideration.

“Pardons are more than just a signature on paper, they offer new opportunities, second chances, and forgiveness for folks who have bettered their communities and made amends,” Evers said. “I believe in second chances and in the positive impact pardons can have on our criminal justice system and communities, so I am glad to pardon these nine individuals.”

The pardons announced Wednesday are the first since his record 18 pardons last month. In February, Evers pardoned 17 people. Including Thursday’s 18, Evers has now pardoned 47 people.

The Wisconsin Constitution allows the governor to pardon individuals convicted of a crime. A pardon is an official act of forgiveness that will restore some of the rights that are lost when someone is convicted of a felony.

Pardons don’t erase or seal a conviction, but they do restore a variety of rights, including being able to own a gun and serve on a jury.

The release said individuals can apply for a pardon if they completed five years of their sentence and have not committed new crimes.

The individuals who were pardoned were:

  • Jason Ceslok, now 41, was 18 when he and friends stole a snowmobile from a dealership and took it joyriding. Ceslok is married with a daughter and has worked for Minhas Craft Brewery since 2005. He lives in Brodhead.
  • Steven Dummer was 17 when he and his friends stole a vehicle from an auto dealership and took it joyriding. Now 64, he has maintained employment since and hopes to travel to Canada to fish. He lives in Watertown.
  • Corey Dusso was only 16 years old when he and a friend took his friend’s mom’s car joyriding after drinking. They fled when an officer attempted to pull them over and drove into a ditch. Now 38 years old, Dusso lives in La Crosse.
  • Heather Hafemann-Biles was in her early twenties when she was struggling with drug addiction and drove the getaway vehicle while her then-husband burglarized multiple residences. She went through treatment, is now sober, a mother of three, and currently works at a chocolate factory. She lives in Johnson Creek.
  • James Jerrett, now almost 50 years old, was 17 when he stole alcohol from multiple establishments. He is now married, with children and grandchildren, and owns and operates a body shop, as well as several rental properties. He lives in Soldiers Grove.
  • Willie Patterson Jr. was in his early twenties when stole from two employers. He went on to attend Milwaukee Area Technical College, is married with children, and has the support of recent employers who have vouched for his work ethic and honesty. He lives in Milwaukee.
  • Danny Powers, now 66 years old, was 18 when he was convicted of robbery. He is retired after a lifetime of consistent employment, most recently with the State of Minnesota for 15 years, and is married with three kids and “a whole bunch of grandkids.” With a pardon, he would like to be able to travel to Canada to visit his wife’s family. He lives in Wadena, Minnesota.
  • James Shurson sold marijuana to an undercover agent when he was 22 years old. Now 56, he owns his own business pumping septic tanks. He lives in West Salem.
  • Corey Tielens, now 39 years old, was 20 when he committed a hit and run. He has since maintained employment and is a part-owner of rental properties. His career prospects would improve with a notary license, which he cannot obtain without a pardon. He lives in Green Bay.

The Governor’s Pardon Advisory Board will meet again virtually on Tuesday.