Gov. Walker says pardons undermine criminal justice system - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Gov. Walker says pardons undermine criminal justice system

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) told 27 News on Thursday morning he hasn't suspended the state's pardons process, he just isn't issuing any.

Gov. Walker has not pardoned any convicted felons since taking office in 2011 and claims that won't change in the future.

"And the reason's simple," said Gov. Walker.  "The criminal justice system has a process by which, if someone's innocent, they can be granted a change in their sentence based upon the court system.  They handle that."

Governor Walker never appointed anyone to Wisconsin's Pardon Advisory Board, something originally set up by former Governor Scott McCallum (R) in 2001 and subsequently utilized by Gov. Jim Doyle (D).

"The only people seeking pardons are people who are guilty and I don't have any reason to undermine the criminal justice system," said Gov. Walker.

Gov. Doyle issued nearly 300 pardons during his eight years in office.

Gov. McCallum issued two dozen before that, and Governor Tommy Thompson pardoned over 60 convicted felons during his last six years in office.

The Wisconsin Constitution gives the Governor the power to pardon anyone convicted of a felony in the state.  The pardon does not overturn the felony conviction, but does restore certain rights such as a person's ability to possess a firearm, obtain a liquor license, or hold public office.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann will have more on this story on 27 News at 5 and 6.

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