Twenty-two Coloradans held freshly-signed pardons from the Governor on Monday.
They aren't famous faces, or scandalous cases. They're everyday people who did wrong, served time, and have done right since. These are the only pardons Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has issued in his time in office, aside from Rene Lima-Marin.
The Governor's clemency letters begin and end alike, but the middles are all different.
These are the people who were granted clemency, and excerpts from their letters:
"Since completing your sentence, you have worked hard to make ends meet and help your sister pursue her goals. I'm impressed by your dream of becoming a respiratory therapist. That dream was extinguished when you found out that your criminal history would make it difficult, if not impossible, for you to secure a job in that field. I hope that this pardon will reignite your passion for this career."
"Since your conviction 25 years ago, you have proven yourself as a valuable and loyal employee at City Market. You raised your children and worked hard to make ends meet. In an effort to further your career, you sought and earned a certificate as a Pharmacy Technician... I believe you have it in you to move beyond past mistakes."
"Five years ago, you put yourself through the police academy in Glenwood Springs with the goal of becoming a deputy in the Grand County Sheriff's Office. Your conviction stifled your dream. I believe you deserve a second chance, and I hope that this pardon will create opportunity for you."
Jerome H. Casper, Jr.
"Even before your conviction, you demonstrated a commitment to public service by becoming a firefighter. Since your conviction more than 30 years ago, you have demonstrated your re-commitment to living a productive life. You started a new career as a paralegal, raised five impressive sons, and have given back to your community. Your conviction has prevented you from realizing your goal of joining the Denver Police Department or Colorado State Patrol. You say that you made a bad choice 30 years go and you have strived to make up for it by being the best person you know how to be. I believe you."
Many people with criminal history desire a second chance, and you have earned one. Your conviction occurred nearly 40 years ago. Since then, you have dedicated yourself to your family and to your church, and you help those in need.
"You have worked hard, pursued your education, bought a house, and you have helped raise your nieces and nephews who have thrived under your influence ... You say that you are more than this once mistake, and that you are no longer the young woman who made bad decisions. I believe you. I hope this pardon will enable you to stop settling."
"You have a criminal history resulting from stealing a video game for which you paid a fine. Despite the low-level nature of your offense, your record has interfered with your ability to pursue your professional goals. I am impressed that you manged to secure a great job as Vice President at Bank of America. Nevertheless, I hope that this pardon will allow you to pursue whatever other positions you desire without your past holding you back."
"Nearly 30 years ago, you were convicted of aggravated motor vehicle theft. You worked hard as a diesel mechanic, but this conviction hampered your professional opportunities. Although you are no longer working, you would like to hunt again, and your conviction prevents you from doing so..."
"You were convicted on marijuana possession 45 years ago while you were in the Air Force. After completing your enlistment in the Air Force, you were honorably discharged. Since then you have worked hard, built a family, and lived a full life. Despite the clean life you have lived since, your conviction prevents you from purchasing a firearm for hunting purposes. I hope this pardon will allow you to resume your passion for hunting."
"You have become actively involved in your church, and you have served an important role for those in your community who require hospice care. You rescued a mother and her two children from a vehicle that crashed on the highway with a tanker truck carrying gasoline. You devote substantial time to youth ministry in the Assemblies of God, Roy Rangers, and you have expressed a desire to serve the with Texas State Guard in the chaplain corps. I hope that this pardon will help you pursue that goal."
"Over 20 years ago when you were a young man, you entered a plea for providing false information to a pawnbroker. You characterized the crime as a stupid mistake you made as a kid. Since then, you have grown up, and pursued your education, married, and started a family. Despite your hard work, to provide for your family, your conviction continues to hamper your ability to pursue professional opportunities."
"When you were a young man, you headed down a destructive path, in part due to substance abuse. After your arrest, you were determined to get your life back on track. You earned reentry into and graduated from the Colorado School of Mines. You demonstrated to your peers, professors, and supervisors that you are a dedicated and talented mining engineer."
"You not only conquered your own addiction, but you have pursued your education and used it to help others overcome their own. You have served your community in so many ways, including on the Denver Crime Prevention and Control Commission. You did all this while raising five children ... I believe you deserve a second chance, and I hope that this pardon will allow you to overcome these barriers and to reach even higher."
"You suffered from addiction in the wake of your military service in Vietnam. Your conviction was more than 20 years ago for possession of a controlled-substance, an event you describe as a wake-up call. Since then you have conquered your addiction and become a valuable member of your family and community ... I hope this pardon gives you peace of mind for your retirement, and I thank you for your service."
"You say that this mistake has weighed heavily on your heart, and that you have turned around your life since then. I believe you. Since then, you have obtained a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Social Work while counseling and mentoring people with substance abuse addictions and then successfully pursued a career advocating for foster children in North Carolina. You also started a family. Your conviction is nevertheless stifling your career opportunities..."
"Over 50 years ago, and shortly after your honorable discharge from the Air Force, you pled guilty to two non-violent felonies. You contributed to your community by owning a business. As an avid outdoorsman, your convictions have prevented you from pursuing your passion for hunting..."
"You say that every day you try to be a better person than you were the day before. I believe you, and your determination not to let this conviction keep you down is nothing short of impressive. Since completing your sentence, you pursued you education bought a house. You also started a family, which profoundly changed your life. It is clear that you are an asset in your workplace and an important member of your community."
"After coming out of an unstable relationship and an addiction, you were able to regain control of your life, kick your habit, and create a stable and happy home for your children. Even though you struggled to make ends meet, you were active in your church, and you pursued a nursing degree. Anyone would be impressed you, which explains why you were able to obtain a nursing license despite your record. You have thrived as a nurse and have found your calling. I hope that this pardon will allow you to reach even higher and find new ways to help people."
"You say that you are not the same person you were when you were at 18. I believe you. You were convicted of two felonies over 20 years ago and have since turned around our life. You pursued a career as an electrician, married, and started a family. Even the victim of your more serious felony has taken notice of your efforts to live a productive life and does not opposed a pardon."
"Twenty years ago, when you were a young man, you were headed down a destructive path. Despite your age of 17, you were charged and convicted as an adult. You made the most of your time in Youth Offender Services, pursuing a high school diploma and demonstrating an extraordinary dedication to improving your life. Your vision was for a career in athletic training. You obtained a Bachelor's degree, a Master's, and a Doctorate in pursuit of this passion and you have used these degrees to pursue a career as an athletic trainer for students and athletes. I hope that this pardon will allow you to reach even higher."
"Since your conviction of a marijuana felony 48 years ago, you have pursued a successful career in real estate, and you have used your successes to benefit your community. You give generously to various charities and you have actively involved in your church. You keep an eye out for people in need and you do your utmost to improve their situations. Anyone would be impressed by your many accomplishments and contributions."
"Since your conviction of a marijuana felony 45 years ago, you have lived your life in a way that has positively impacted people around you. After your conviction, you built a business, started a family and became involved in your community. Nevertheless, your conviction continues to prevent you from hunting, an activity that is important to you. I hope and expect this pardon will allow you to pursue your passion."