Massachusetts governor adds to number of individuals eyed for pardons


BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey has recommended another three individuals for pardons, putting her on track to push for more individual pardons in her first year and a half as governor than her two immediate predecessors recommended in their eight years in office.

It also follows approval earlier this year of Healey’s blanket pardon to those convicted of misdemeanor marijuana charges going back decades — an estimated tens of thousands of individuals, or more.

Healey said the goal of the additional pardons, combined with the sweeping cannabis pardon policy, is to help make the state’s justice system fair and equitable.

“I look forward to continuing our efforts to use the power of clemency as a tool to right the wrongs of the past and make our state stronger and safer,” the Democrat said in a written statement Thursday.

Among those Healey hopes to pardon is Danis Reyes, convicted of distribution of a Class A controlled substance in 1995. Reyes has three children and three grandchildren, is an active community member and works as a local carpenter, according to Healey’s office.

Another, William Veal, was convicted of receiving stolen property in 1981 when he was 21 years old. He was also convicted of assault in 1983 and conspiracy to commit larceny in 1991. Veal lives in Brockton, has 10 children and 13 grandchildren, and works as an autobody painter.

Healey has also recommended a pardon for Kenny Jean, convicted of armed robbery in 2016 when he was 18. According to Healey, Jean said that at the time, he was homeless and in desperate need of money. He has since worked to turn his life around.

Healey recommended Jean for a conditional pardon last year, which was approved. She’s now recommending him for an unconditional pardon.

In Massachusetts, the governor has the authority to grant clemency for offenses violating state law — including both pardons and commutations — with the consent of the eight-member, elected Massachusetts Governor’s Council.

The council has already approved 13 of Healey’s earlier pardon recommendations.

If the newest recommendations are approved, the number of individual pardons issued under Healey since she took office as governor in January last year would increase to 16.

Healey’s predecessor, former Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, recommended 15 pardons during his eight years in office. His predecessor, former Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick issued just four.

Republican Mitt Romney, who served one term, didn’t pardon anyone before he left as governor in 2007. Romney served one four-year term.

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