Calling it a ‘no-brainer,’ Healey recommends 7 for pardons
Says clemency can ‘soften the hardest edges of the system’
GOV. MARUA HEALEY proposed seven people for pardons on Thursday and indicated she is just getting started.
The move by Healey attracted attention because most governors put off acts of clemency until the end of their time in office. Healey’s office said her pardons are the first by a Massachusetts governor during a first year in office in more than 30 years and the most in the first year in office in more than 40 years.
Assuming the Governor’s Council approves Healey’s proposal, the seven individuals will see their records erased as if they never occurred. The most recent convictions were in 2006 and 2003. Three were in the 1990s and two were in the 1980s. None of the seven are still involved with the criminal justice system, but several have been prevented from entering certain professions because of their long-ago convictions.
“This to me is a no-brainer,” Healey said. “It’s the right thing to do.”
Healey indicated her administration is reviewing the guidelines for clemency and may develop new rules to mitigate racial disparities in the way justice is administered and take note of brain development. “Young people change and grow,” she said.
“Clemency is an important and fundamental right of our justice system. It provides an opportunity to soften the hardest edges of the system,” said Healey.
Asked how often she intends to use her pardon power, Healey said: “Whenever justice requires it.” She added: “This isn’t about numbers, it’s about people.”
Three of the seven people Healey is seeking to pardon were convicted of drug possession or drug distribution charges. Glendon King, a graduate of Boston Latin Academy who attended the University of Pittsburgh, was convicted of drug charges in 1992 at the age of 30. He subsequently served in the US Army and the Army National Guard before joining the Boston Fire Department in 1999. He is currently approaching retirement.
“There’s a right way and a wrong way and I took the wrong way for a short period of time, but I got right back on track,” said King, who is married with six children, 10 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
The two others convicted of drug charges were Edem Amet, an immigrant who was convicted of drug distribution in 1995 at the age of 20. The governor’s press release said “his conviction hindered his ability to become a permanent resident.”
Gerald Waloewandja was convicted of distributing heroin in 2003 at age 18. It was his only criminal offense. He currently lives in Maine and is married with two children.
Xavier Delvalle was convicted of breaking and entering at age 19 in 2006. He now lives in Texas and is employed by American Airlines. His conviction has prevented him from joining the military and pursuing a career as an aviation mechanic. He was also turned down previously for a corrections officer job in Massachusetts.John Latter was convicted of arson in 1966 at the age of 19. He worked as a licensed practical nurse in Massachusetts for 22 years before retiring and moving to Florida, where he attempted to obtain a nursing license but was denied because of his past conviction.
Deborah Pickard was convicted of a number of crimes between 1982 and 1987 when she was in her 20s. She has been sober since 2001 and works as a licensed social worker in North Carolina.