Then, in January, WQOW 18 reported Walker - who has not granted a single pardon since he entered office - had actually not "suspended the state's pardons process." He "just [wasn't] isn't issuing any." To make matters worse, Walker offered this bone-headed explanation for his behavior:
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 ... The only people seeking pardons are people who are guilty and I don't have any reason to undermine the criminal justice system.Hopefully someone has explained the difference between a pardon and a commutation of sentence to the Governor since then! But, now, the San Francisco Chronicle (via the Associated Press) reports Walker has "refused to consider any of at least 1,400 pardon applications since he's taken office" (almost 700 of which were filed during his administration). This, of course, seems consistent with the fact that he created a "pardon advisory board" (in March 2011) but has appointed no one to it since! As for previous governors of Wisconsin:
Former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson and his successor, Republican Scott McCallum, issued a combined 86 pardons from 1994 through 2002. Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle issued three times as many, granting nearly 300 during his eight years in office. About a third of his pardons came during the last 3½ months of his tenure.Walker offered additional explanation for his failure to exercise this traditional check and balance in this new interview with the AP:
I just look at (granting pardons) and say that's not really why I ran for office. It's not what I campaigned on. It's not what I talked about ... To me, the only people who are seeking pardons are people who have been guilty of a crime and I have a hard time undermining the actions of a jury and of a court.So, it appears the governor's nonsensical remarks were not unscripted. They are talking points! The poor fellow doesn't seem to know that pardons do not spring guilty persons from prison and toss them in the street to do more violence to potential voters and donors. There is little or no doubt that the vast majority of applications that he has on his desk are from persons who committed minor offense, for the first time, years ago, and have integrated themselves back into society as law-abiding, productive members. They are not asking Walker to overturn the decision making of judges and juries. They are simply asking the bonehead to restore their civil rights.
Of course, one also wonders what other powers Walker is ignoring / neglecting because he didn't have sound bites for them during the campaign He can rightfully claim that he expressed no interest in Justice (much less Mercy) as a candidate. Impressive. See full story here.