There are generally two phases of every successful pardon application: the Pardon Application and the Pardon Hearing.
The Wisconsin Pardon Application
First you must obtain certain certified court records from the cases for which you are seeking a pardon. The Pardon Board “strongly encourages” that you also obtain letters of recommendation and other relevant documents to support the information about your life that you tell the Pardon Board in your application.
If you meet the eligibility criteria, and you properly file your Pardon Application, then the Pardon Board decides whether you should be granted a Hearing before the Board.
Hearings Before the Wisconsin Pardon Advisory Board
Currently, there are eight members named to the Pardon Board, all with diverse backgrounds and experiences. There is a former judge, a former public defender, a former prosecutor, a former corrections official, and a former chief of police.
Pardon Hearings are public hearings. A Hearing begins with the Board asking the pardon applicant to tell the Board about the criminal offense for which they are seeking a pardon. The person who has applied to receive a pardon then can provide a prepared statement. After that, the members of the Pardon Board question the applicant. A well-prepared applicant must be ready for anything.
After the hearings are completed, by majority vote of the attending members, the Board decides which applicants should be recommended to the Governor for a pardon.
Our attorneys have attended and observed many pardon hearings. We can help to prepare you to provide answers to the questions that you are likely to be asked at your pardon hearing. Give us a call at 608-250-9053 if you think you might need assistance preparing for a pardon hearing.
UPDATE: On September 7, 2021, Governor Evers issued Wisconsin Executive Order #130, which grants the Chair of the Pardon Advisory Board the power to forego holding a pardon hearing for applicants convicted a long time ago of a nonviolent felony offense. If you are unsure how this affects your pardon application, give us a call at 608-250-9053.