Evers pardons several with robbery, arson, and drug convictions

By Patrick Lynn

Gov. Tony Evers this week announced that he granted pardons to 17 individuals previously convicted of felonies.

Evers said in a press release the recommendations were made by the Governor’s Pardon Advisory Board after hearings on Dec. 4, 2019, and Feb. 5, 2020.

The following pardons were granted:

  • Robert Olson, now 58 years old, was 19 when he and a friend stole two calves, sold them, and received a felony conviction for theft. Olson completed probation and paid his restitution in full. He has owned and operated an RV sales and service company for the last 25 years and is an active member of his community. Olson pursued a pardon to allow him to obtain a passport, possess a firearm, and get licensed to be a foster care parent.
  • Paul Anderson, now 43 years old, was 19 when he duplicated a friend’s car key and used the vehicle without consent, resulting in a felony conviction. He completed his sentence early, obtained his EMT license, and was a member of a volunteer fire department from 2003-2005. Anderson is currently a parts manager at an automobile dealership and he sought a pardon to better his future career opportunities.
  • Scott Sowle, now 50 years old, was 19 when he was convicted of attempted burglary. He completed probation, has had no other criminal contact, and received numerous letters of support from local community members. Sowle currently serves as a safety manager for a local manufacturer and pursued a pardon to enable him to travel internationally for work and possibly run for local office.
  • Bradley Cummings was 18 years old when he sold prescription drugs to an undercover detective, resulting in a felony drug-dealing conviction in 2007. He completed his sentence and has had no other criminal convictions. Cummings is a current employee with the Portage County Register of Deeds and applied for a pardon to restore his right to run for public office and to become a notary for work purposes.
  • Rudolph Rott, now 62 years old, was convicted of felony drug-dealing 35 years ago. He has since completed his sentence and became a successful small business owner. Rott is an active member of his community and church and pursued a pardon to enable him to hunt with his family and get involved with public service.
  • Michael Hranicka, now 45 years old, was 18 when he and others stole snowmobiles, spray-painted school property, and went into a resident’s home to take electronics. He completed his probation in 1997 and has had no subsequent criminal involvement. He is a leader in multiple organizations and volunteers for trout conservation efforts. He sought a pardon to expand his business opportunities as a self-employed flooring installer and to get involved with youth trout conservation programs. He also hopes to run for public office one day.
  • Anthony Bianco was 17 years old when he acted as the getaway driver during a robbery. He paid all the restitution that had been ordered to be paid by all co-defendants. Bianco completed his GED, obtained employment with a local lumber business, and is an active member of his church and community. He is pursuing a pardon to clear his name and to be eligible for future promotions at work.
  • Joseph Bass, now 49 years old, was 23 when he was caught dealing cocaine in Milwaukee. He and his wife now run a flooring company together. He pursued a pardon because he believes it will help advance his business.
  • Aaron Roux, now 35 years old, was 19 when he and a friend broke into a number of cabins and sheds locked up for the winter. They stole construction tools, fishing equipment, and assorted goods. He is now a business owner, as well as an owner and landlord of 36 rental units. He pursued a pardon to help advance his business prospects and to become more involved with his community.
  • James Grover, now 36 years old, was 22 when stole a vehicle and drove it while intoxicated, crashing it on the side of a road. He is now employed as an R&D Mechanical Designer. He has completed an Associate of Applied Science degree in Mechanical Design Technology from Moraine Park Technical College.
  • Alvin Korbel, now 69 years old, was 18 when he and a group of friends committed multiple arsons while under the influence of alcohol. Korbel received a waiver to join the military and has been a career serviceman. He has a family and volunteers in several different capacities. He pursued a pardon to be able to hunt.
  • David Bolton, now 65 years old, was 22 years old when he and a friend were intoxicated and robbed an ice cream salesman of $7 and robbed the night auditor of a hotel of $225. He has since retired after a successful career, and now sober, is involved with AA as a volunteer. He pursued a pardon to expand his volunteer opportunities with his local VA and hunt with his brothers.
  • Rachel Mohr, now 51 years old, was 30 years old when she was convicted for dealing marijuana. She completed substance abuse programming as part of her sentence and is now a stay-at-home mom who volunteers for her son’s school. She sought a pardon to obtain a passport to visit family out of the country.
  • Christoph Halverson, now 34 years old, was 21 years old when he refused to pull over pursuant to a traffic stop. He has since worked his way up from being a customer service agent to a role in an executive position, serving as Vice President of Global Business Development. He is a foster parent, a very active member of his church community, and volunteers in a variety of different capacities.
  • Matthew Riehle, now 38 years old, was 19 when he was convicted for dealing marijuana. Since his conviction, Riehle worked his way up from a job as a carpenter to owning his own construction business. He travels the country as an avid rock climber. He pursued a pardon to expand his construction business and to improve his chances of being accepted to an engineering program.
  • Josh Reppen, now 31 years old, was 17 when he drove a get-away van while a friend stole mini dirt bikes and clothing items from a local business. Since completing probation, Reppen received an industrial welding diploma and was employed in that industry until recently, when he began working as a concrete mixer truck driver. He pursued a pardon so he can continue to be a positive example for his children and possibly someday teach his son to hunt.
  • Joel Blasé, now 44 years old, was 19 when he robbed a pizza delivery man. He works for a local company as a painter and volunteers in several different capacities. He pursued a pardon to be able to run for local political office.

A pardon is an official act of forgiveness that restores some of the rights that are lost when someone is convicted of a felony, including the right to serve on a jury, hold public office, and hold certain professional licenses. It does not result in an expungement.

The Wisconsin Constitution grants the governor’s office the power to pardon individuals convicted of a crime.

Evers’ predecessor, Republican Scott Walker, did not issue pardons over his eight years as governor. Before Walker, Gov. Thompson granted 238 pardons, Gov. McCallum granted 24 pardons, and Gov. Doyle granted more than 300 pardons. So far, Evers has granted 29 pardons.

Felons can apply for a pardon under Executive Order #30, provided they completed their sentence at least five years ago and have not committed any new crimes. Individuals currently required to register on the sex offender registry are ineligible for a pardon.

“I believe in second chances. Each of these individuals has earned a pardon by paying their debt to society, making amends, and contributing to their communities,” Evers said in his press release. “Many of the individuals I pardoned were seeking pardons to advance their careers or better serve their communities, and I wish them the best in these endeavors.”