Healey seeks 7 pardons saying, 'justice can’t wait'
Gov. Maura Healey on Thursday took the unusually early step of seeking pardons for seven people convicted of various offenses years ago. She also plans to take additional steps to "modernize" clemency in Massachusetts.
Healey, who was sworn in in January, moved to forgive offenses that range as far back as more than half a century. Her office said the clemency recommendations are the first an elected Massachusetts governor has made in their first year in office in three decades.
She sought to pardon Edem Amet, who was convicted in 1995 on drug charges; Xavier Delvalle, who was convicted in 2006 on breaking and entering and larceny charges; Glendon King, who was convicted in 1992 on drug charges; John Latter, who was convicted of arson in 1966; Deborah Pickard, who was convicted on several charges between 1982 and 1987; Gerald Waloewandja, who was convicted of drug charges in 2003; and Terrance Williams, who was convicted of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in 1984.
All seven people were recommended for clemency by the Parole Board or conditional executive clemency by the Advisory Board of Pardons, according to Healey's office. The pardons must win approval from the Governor's Council before they take effect.
Healey, who is discussing her choices at a State House press conference, said she decided to make a push just more than five months into her four-year term "because justice can't wait."
"These seven individuals have accepted responsibility for their crimes, which were often committed many years ago when they were young or suffering from challenging personal circumstances such as substance use disorder or abuse," Healey said. "They've taken productive steps to improve their lives and make meaningful contributions to their communities, but they still face barriers because of their distant criminal records. They shouldn't have to spend one more day being held back from reaching their full potential. We strongly believe that each of these individuals are deserving of a pardon so that they can pursue their dreams, remain united with their families and communities, and continue to serve our nation."
Hinting at broader reforms on the horizon, Healey added, "Our administration views clemency as an important executive power that can help soften the harsher edges of our criminal justice system. We are currently working to modernize the state's clemency guidelines to center fairness and racial and gender equity."