Gov. Healey recommends 4 pardons

Gov. Maura Healey on Thursday recommended pardons for four people charged with crimes when they were under 25 years old. Each has gone on to help their community and live a productive life, she said, but in some cases they've lost jobs or opportunities because of their records.

They include Evan Wiley, who's military service in Afghanistan was delayed and nearly derailed because of an arrest at age 18 that resulted in a $500 fine; and Kenny Jean, who has worked with a nonprofit providing jobs and training to youth, both before and after his time in prison for robbery.

Another is Joanne Booth, who in 2021 lost her job running a pre-kindergarten program — 40 years after her offenses, because of a background check. In 1979, when she was 18, she was convicted of assault and battery on a police officer and sentenced to probation. Murphy Smith, who served probation for an assault in 1988, currently works at a hospital but fears if he ever lost his job, he'd have difficulty getting a new one because of his record.

"These four individuals are deserving of pardons for offenses that they committed a long time ago, and they have since taken productive steps to improve their lives and give back to their communities," Healey said in a statement. "Our administration believes that clemency is a powerful tool to ensure that our criminal justice system is just and equitable."

Healey will next send the recommendations to the Governor's Council, which must approve the pardons before they're granted. 

In June, Healey nominated seven other people for pardons that were approved. They, too, committed crimes at young ages and experienced challenges related to their criminal records later in life.

The governor also announced that she nominated a new member to the Massachusetts Parole Board: Sarah Coughlin, a licensed independent clinical social worker and licensed alcohol and drug counselor. Coughlin currently serves as director of community engagement and partnerships at Mass General Brigham, the Boston hospital group.

“Sarah Coughlin has a wide range of experience in many critical areas that will inform her work on the Parole Board," Healey's statement said.


Roberto Scalese Senior Editor, Digital
Roberto Scalese is a senior editor for digital.



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