Governor suggests pardon-seeking veteran drop career hopes - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Governor suggests pardon-seeking veteran drop hopes of police career

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Governor Walker Thursday reinforced his unwillingness to consider pardons, suggesting a combat veteran with a felony conviction consider careers other than law enforcement.

32-year old Eric Pizer of Madison has hoped to ask Walker for a pardon from a 2004 felony substantial battery conviction, so as to qualify to carry a firearm and pursue a career as a police officer. Pizer was deployed twice to the war against Iraq, and has no other criminal record. Pizer has a degree in criminal justice-related study.

Speaking to reporters after signing a bill to help technical college students and others to a speedier path to required, state licenses, Walker indicated Pizer should consider other career fields, if blocked by his felony conviction from law enforcement jobs.

"I think there's a number of other areas that (have) tremendous needs in the state of Wisconsin," Walker said.

Walker acknowledged having the constitutional authority to issue pardons, but said resolving criminal matters should remain in the criminal justice system's domain. Walker has issued no pardons since taking office in 2011, with more than two thousand pardon requests pending.

Walker said singling out Pizer's case for consideration is ill-advised.

"If you pick one, there's thousands of other examples out there that people that may not have the media or other outlets behind them, who would be in an equal position, who probably have a compelling case to be made that we don't yet know about," Walker said.

"Unfortunately, the governor makes these comments without knowing Eric Pizer's entire story because he won't even accept pardon applications," said Madison attorney David Relles, an advocate for Pizer. In 2011, Walker authorized the continuation of a pardon advisory board, but has made no appointments to it.

Walker has said granting pardons undermines the actions of the criminal justice system. Some other governors also have issued no pardons, including Massachusetts democrat Governor Deval Patrick.

Pizer's bid for a pardon was first reported by 27 News on Veteran's Day. While records show Pizer's victim of the battery badly broke his nose and incurred thousands of dollars in medical costs, they also show Pizer punched him just a single time, in an after-bar dispute.

 

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