No DUI Pardons in 2015… So Far

In Fact, No Pardons of Any Kind Granted… So Far

Last year Governor Snyder pardoned eleven people, erasing their criminal records with a simple signature. But this year’s pardons have proven far more elusive to obtain.

Thus far, almost 100 people from around the state have petitioned the Governor, hoping to have their criminal histories pardoned. But to no avail. We have passed the halfway mark in the second last month of 2015, and not a single person has received a pardon yet this year. But why? Why was the governor so much more free with his pardons last year, and so unrelenting this year?

According to several sources, all pardons are sent to the Michigan Parole Board, which screens each one and then either recommends a pardon or not. So far this year, fifty-three applications have been rejected. Btt the remaining are still open, unresolved, waiting….

Last year there was a great deal of uproar and media speculation surrounding one particular pardon granted to a wealthy lawyer who served on a certain state advisory board. Alan Gocha, a practicing attorney from Detroit, applied twice for a DUI pardon for his drunk driving conviction, and was granted one by Snyder.

Many people assumed that Gocha received the DUI pardon because of his possible political connections and financial backing. But, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections, this isn’t the case. Gocha received no special treatment, and it was on the merit of his circumstances that the governor granted his DUI pardon.

And what circumstances were those exactly? Gocha, explained in his application that he was denied the opportunity to travel overseas because of the 2008 DUI conviction on his record. And according to what Russ Marlan, a deputy director at the Corrections Department, told the media earlier this year, this is what the governor is looking for. Snyder, he said, is looking to help people whose prior convictions “inhibit them from advancing economically.”

But there are many others who have applied for pardons since, several of whom have DUIs on their records that are keeping them from pursuing their career goals. But no DUI pardons have been forthcoming.

The governor’s ability to pardon crimes is supported by the constitution and drunk driving offenses are listed as one of the many crimes that are eligible. But even pardon information websites will tell you that pardons for any kind of crime are extremely rare. So while we would never advise that anyone give up hope, we do caution you not to hold your breath on this one. Because it looks like Snyder’s brief pardoning spree may be over for now.

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