Pardon Information

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Here you will find information related to the Governor's Pardon Advisory Board. The Governor's Pardon Advisory Board reviews eligible pardon applications and makes recommendations to Gov. Evers on who to grant a pardon to.​

​​​​Any ap​plication for clemency must be made usi​ng the appli​cation found here.​​

​​​Frequently Asked​ Questions:

​Who can apply for a pardon?

​​Eligibility criteria are in the pardon application.

Is a pardon the same thing as an expungement?

​No. A pardon is a grant of forgiveness from the Governor that can restore some rights and privileges and relieve certain legal disabilities. A pardon does not mean that a conviction is expunged, erased, vacated, or sealed. Expungement, by contrast, is granted by a court. See Wis. Stat. § 973.015. Public records would reflect that a Governor's pardon was issued.

Is the Pardon Advisory Board the same as the Parole Commission?

No. The Pardon Advisory Board reviews eligible pardon applications and makes recommendations to the Governor on who to grant a pardon to. The Wisconsin Parole Commission is an independent commission that reviews requests for discretionary parole or early release from prison for sentences handed down for crimes committed before Dec. 31, 1999.

I do not meet the eligibility criteria as listed in the application. May I ask that some or all the eligibility criteria be waived in my case?

Eligibility criteria are mandatory and cannot be waived.

Is there a fee for filing a pardon application?

No. But there may be court fees associated with obtaining some of the documents required to accompany the application.

What if I already sent a pardon request to Governor Evers or a prior administration?

You must re-apply using the current pardon application. In the interests of uniformity and fairness, only applications that have been completed using the current application will be considered.

Where can I obtain certified copies of the requested court records?

You should contact the clerk of courts in the county of your conviction. A certified copy is signed by the clerk of courts in order to verify its authenticity and accuracy. Uncertified copies will not be accepted.

What if the clerk of courts cannot find copies of the requested documents?

Ask the clerk of courts to mail a letter stating this to: ​

Office of the Governor
Attn: Pardo​n Advisory Board
PO Box 7863
Madison, WI 53707​​

Must my application be notarized?

Yes.

Do I need an attorney to complete a pardon application?

No. However, you may hire one at your own expense.

Can I submit letters of recommendation or letters of support?

Yes. Letters of recommendation are strongly encouraged. However, you must be sure to include these letters as part of your application. Do not have people independently send these letters after submission of your application packet, as we are unable to guarantee that those supplementary materials will be included in the review of your application.  

Am I required to notify the victim in my case of the fact that I am applying for pardon, and will the victim have a say in my application?

No. If you receive a hearing, the State will notify the victim(s). The perspectives and opinions of any victim will be an important consideration for the Pardon Advisory Board.

What if the judge or district attorney who handled my original case are no longer available?

Directions for this situation are provided for in the application.

How long will it take for my application to be reviewed?

The amount of time it takes for an application to be reviewed will depend on the number of applications pending. Due to the large volume of applications, it may take several months or more than a year for your application to be reviewed. In the interest of fairness, applications will be reviewed and set for hearing, if eligible, in the approximate order they are received.

What is the Pardon Advisory Board's contact information?

Application materials should go to:​

Office of the Governor
Attn: Pardo​n Advisory Board
PO Box 7863
Madison, WI 53707​​

If you want to find out whether an application has been received, you can email GovPardons@wisconsin.gov. If you do not have access to email, you can contact (608) 266-1212 to confirm receipt of your application. However, details regarding when exactly your application may be reviewed, what the “chances" are for your application, or other related inquiries will not be answered by staff. ​

Will I know if my application has been found ineligible or if I have been granted a hearing?

Yes. You will be notified if you are found ineligible for a pardon. Similarly, if you've been granted a hearing, you will receive notice of date, time, and location of the hearing.

The current pardon application says only felony convictions are eligible. What if I have a misdemeanor conviction associated with the felony that I am seeking a pardon for?

If an applicant is seeking a pardon for a primary charge which is a felony, he or she may also request that the Board consider pardoning the associated misdemeanor(s). The Board is not considering individuals convicted solely of misdemeanors at this time.

Can I use this form to request a pardon for a federal or out-of-state conviction?

No. Only Wisconsin state convictions are eligible for pardon.

Can I email my completed pardon application instead of mailing it?

No. You must mail your completed application to the address provided in the application. Please make sure to retain a copy of your completed application for your own records.

Will applications on behalf of deceased individuals be eligible for pardon?

No.

I've been granted a hearing – now what?

You must be present in person for your hearing before the Pardon Advisory Board. The hearing will last approximately 15 minutes. The Board will ask you questions about yourself and your application. You may present supporting witnesses, but ​any testimony presented by these witnesses will leave you less time to present your own case to the Board. You will not be afforded additional time in order to present your witnesses.

If I am granted a hearing with the Pardon Advisory Board, do I need an attorney to represent me?

No. However, you may hire one at your own expense.

What does the Pardon Advisory Board do?

The Board holds hearings to access eligible and complete applications. It then makes a recommendation to the Governor. If a majority of the Board recommends granting a pardon, the application is presented to the Governor, who may or may not grant a pardon. The decision to pardon remains wholly within the Governor's discretion.

What factors do the Pardon Advisory Board consider?

All applicants that receive a hearing will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The following factors may be considered:

  • The seriousness of the crime you are seeking a pardon for.
  • Your entire criminal record.
  • The length of time since the crime in question was committed.
  • Your personal development and progress since the crime was committed, such as:
    • Your employment, training, education, community service and civic activities.
    • Detailed letters of recommendation documenting firsthand knowledge of an applicant's development and progress.
  • Your ability to​ demonstrate a significant and documented need for a pardon, such as employment, schooling, job training, or the desire to hold public office.
    • If applicable and possible, an applicant should submit a letter from a prospective employer, licensing agency, school, or training program in order to demonstrate this need.
    • If applicable and possible, the applicant should also provide written documentation of significant steps taken in pursuit of the sought employment, schooling, job training, or public office.
    • Undocumen​​ted or over-generalized claims that an applicant needs a pardon will generally be held insufficient to warrant pardon.
​​  

Does a hearing have to be public?

Yes. By law, the public (including media) may attend meetings of the Pardon Advisory Board.

Can I appeal a denial or finding of ineligibility?

No. Neither decision is appealable.

Can I re-file after a denial?​

Yes, but you must wait 18 months after the date on the notice of denial.​