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Wis. combat vet seeks pardon for police post

Dec. 24, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
Eric Pizer, an Iraq War veteran, with his wife Jennifer Harris, stepdaughter, Bella, 12, and son, Xander, 4, at their home Wednesday in Madison, Wis. Pizer is seeking a pardon for a 2004 felony conviction from a bar fight that occurred two days after he returned home from war.
Eric Pizer, an Iraq War veteran, with his wife Jennifer Harris, stepdaughter, Bella, 12, and son, Xander, 4, at their home Wednesday in Madison, Wis. Pizer is seeking a pardon for a 2004 felony conviction from a bar fight that occurred two days after he returned home from war. (Amber Arnold / AP)
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Pizer's medals include the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal. (Amber Arnold / AP)

MADISON, WIS. — An Iraq War combat veteran is hoping for a pardon from Gov. Scott Walker so he can become a police officer.

But Walker is refusing to budge from his practice of not issuing any pardons.

The Wisconsin State Journal reported Sunday that Eric Pizer, of Madison, is optimistic that he’ll be granted a pardon, despite Walker’s position.

The five governors prior to Walker issued more than 800 pardons combined, but Walker hasn’t granted a single request.

“Early in his administration, Gov. Walker made the decision not to issue pardons and his position has not changed,” said Walker spokesman Tom Evenson.

Pizer enlisted with the Marine Corps right out of high school in Spring Green in 2000. He spent four years in the Marines, earning two commendations and the rank of corporal. He served two tours of duty, one in Kuwait and one in Iraq.

Two days after his return, on Sept. 18, 2004, Pizer, then 23, was out on the town in Boscobel. After some bar-hopping, he stepped into the middle of a scuffle in an alley between his friend and a jealous husband, trying to break it up.

He punched a man in the face, breaking his nose. Pizer was charged with felony substantial battery and pleaded no contest. He served two years’ probation and paid the victim’s $7,165 in medical bills.

The felony conviction has haunted Pizer, now 32, and prevented him from being hired as a police officer. He earned an associate degree in criminal justice from Globe University in October 2012.

A pardon would not erase the conviction but it would restore Pizer’s right to possess a firearm, which he needs to become a police officer.

But the governor, who has sole discretion over pardons, is not accepting any applications.

Walker has said he doesn’t consider pardon requests because he doesn’t believe he should inject himself into the criminal justice system.

“I just look at (granting pardons) and say that’s not really why I ran for office. It’s not what I campaigned on. It’s not what I talked about,” the governor said in March. “To me, the only people who are seeking pardons are people who have been guilty of a crime and I have a hard time undermining the actions of a jury and of a court.”

Pizer and his advocates haven’t applied for a pardon but stand ready to do so if Walker changes his mind.

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