Two Sun Prairie residents were among the latest pardons announced Sept. 7 by Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, who also simultaneously issued an executive order making reforms in the pardon process.
According to the list issued by the governor, two Sun Prairie residents received pardons effective June 11.
Jeffrey Soik was 40 when he grew cannabis at his residence. He now lives with his significant other in Sun Prairie, and Seng Lor was 17 when he drove friends who burglarized a bar and laundromat. He now lives in Sun Prairie with his family and works in for an architectural design consulting firm.
The 71 pardons announced Sept. 7 bring the governor’s total number of granted pardons to 263 pardons since the Governor’s Pardon Advisory Board was announced in 2019. The board heard from applicants virtually in May, June, July and August, and applicants the Board recommended for pardon were forwarded to Gov. Evers for final consideration.
With the announcement, the governor is on target to pardon more people in his first term than any governor in contemporary history.
“Hearing from any one of our pardon recipients you’ll hear stories of redemption, service to others, and hope for the future,” said Evers. “As I said when I reinstated the pardon board, I believe in forgiveness and the power of redemption, and I believe the people of Wisconsin do, too. So, I am glad to announce today that with this latest group of 71 pardon recipients, our total number of pardons is now 263 and counting.”
The governor signed Executive Order #130 which creates a new, expedited process for applications that meet stricter criteria.
Under the new process, the chair of the Pardon Advisory Board may send an application directly to the governor without a board hearing if the applicant committed only a non-violent offense and sufficient time has passed since the conviction.
All other applications will be heard by the Pardon Advisory Board.
A new application is also being issued which expands pardon eligibility to ensure individuals who have completed all their sentences after five years have passed. Previously, individuals could only be pardoned for their most recent felony.
The Wisconsin Constitution grants the governor the power to pardon individuals convicted of a crime.
A pardon is an official act of forgiveness that restores some of the rights that are lost when someone is convicted of a felony, including the right to serve on a jury, hold public office, and hold certain professional licenses. A pardon does not result in an expungement.
Under Executive Orders 30 and 130, individuals convicted of a Wisconsin felony may apply for a pardon if they completed their sentence at least five years ago and have no pending criminal charges or cases. Individuals currently required to register on the sex offender registry are ineligible for a pardon. The updated pardon application, instructions, and answers to frequently asked questions regarding the pardon process are located on the governor’s website: www.evers.wi.gov/Pages/pardon-information.aspx. There is no deadline to apply for a pardon.
Individuals may receive free assistance in completing a pardon application by contacting Legal Action of Wisconsin or the Milwaukee Justice Center Mobile Legal Clinic.