Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is being pushed to use the power of pardons by a familiar opponent, who is perhaps an unlikely advocate on the issue of clemency: District Attorney George Brauchler.

Hickenlooper, a Democrat, hasn't issued a pardon since taking office five years ago.

Brauchler, who is a Republican, is pushing for Hickenlooper to pardon Wayne Thomas, who was convicted for a felony assault as a teenager. Thomas turned his life around. He earned a doctorate after prison, and has become a community leader.

Hickenlooper has issued one temporary reprieve in his time as governor. He excused Nathan Dunlap, who was convicted of killing four people in an Aurora Chuck E. Cheese, from the death penalty.

Brauchler came down hard on Hickenlooper for that decision, but he says his opinion on pardons varies by case, and depends if the victim is "truly deserving" of clemency.

"I think it takes some courage to be more proactive on pardons and clemency earlier in someone's term," Brauchler said in an interview with Next. "If you want me on the stage there with you to say, 'The D.A. agrees with this,' if you want me to take that risk with you I will do it, in the case of Wayne Thomas."

Below is our entire interview with George Brauchler, who we also questioned about the death penalty and running for governor. For now, it's family first, and he's still thinking over that campaign. He won't say a definite no unless John Elway's involved.

VIDEO: George Brauchler on issuing pardons, the death penalty and running for governor