I’d like to take a moment to discuss Madison resident Eric Pizer.
You may be wondering who Eric Pizer is, so here’s more about who Eric Pizer is and why I want to discuss him.
Eric Pizer is a 32 year old resident of Madison, Wisconsin where he lives with Jennifer and their children Xander and Bella. Eric was born and raised in southwestern Wisconsin and graduated from Valley High School at Spring Green in 2000. He served as a U. S. Marine from 2000 through 2004 and since his return he has obtained an associate degree in criminal justice. He is presently employed by Farley’s House of Pianos, but his goal is to be a law enforcement officer. Eric has a spotless record with the exception of one incident in 2004 which currently prevents him from reaching that goal.
In high school, Eric was on the baseball, track, wrestling, and football teams. He was named most improved and most exciting wrestler and as a senior was named second team all-conference in football. While he was still a junior in high school, he decided he wanted to serve his country as a Marine and committed to a four year enlistment upon graduation in 2000.
Eric was in the Marines from 2000 through 2004. During that time, he received meritorious promotions to private first class, lance corporal and in June 2003 to corporal. The rank of corporal in the Marines includes a great increase in responsibility and leadership. A corporal assists in the training of the Marines in his platoon and leads them into combat.
From January through July 2003, Eric was deployed to Kuwait where his unit was subject to Scud missile attacks and he participated in missions into Iraq. Upon his return to the U.S. he was awarded a good conduct medal and was assigned to train four new members of his fire team, who had never been to the Middle East or seen combat.
In February 2004, Eric’s unit was deploying back to Iraq. Because his enlistment was expiring in a few months Eric could not go with them and would have remained at Camp Lejeune. Eric didn’t want the marines he had trained to go to a combat zone without him to lead them. So, he voluntarily extended his enlistment and accompanied them. Their base was subject to repeated attacks by RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) and Eric was thrown from his bed by a close hit during one attack. Eric and his unit transported fuel in convoys to other Marines and were constantly at risk of encountering IEDs (improvised explosive devices). Eric received three separate Certificates of Commendation for his performance of duties during this time. He returned to the U.S. on September 15, 2004. He was honorably discharged from active duty in December 2004.
Two days after his return from Iraq, Eric was on leave back in Wisconsin and he and two friends from high school went to Boscobel to visit the cousin of one of the friends. Together they went to a local bar to play pool. One of the friends became friendly with a woman the cousin knew and she returned with them to the cousin’s house to play cards. The woman’s husband and a friend of his then appeared at the house shortly after midnight and he and his friend aggressively threatened Eric and his friend. When they would not stop the aggressive behavior and the husband suddenly approached Eric from the side, Eric reacted and struck him once, breaking his nose.
Eric had never had any prior encounters with the police and had never been arrested, charged or convicted in a criminal, military or juvenile matter. Despite this history and despite the fact Eric had just returned two days earlier from a combat zone, the Grant County District Attorney’s Office charged him with a felony and refused to reduce the charge. Eric pled guilty to the felony and was sentenced to probation with no jail time and required to make restitution for all medical and other costs.
Eric completed his probation with no violations of any kind. He paid all of the costs which the judge had ordered. His probation agent was impressed by his responsibility.
Since leaving the Marines in December 2004, Eric has not had any other blemishes on his record. He worked in a factory and in construction before obtaining his present job with Farley’s House of Pianos. He still has the goal of becoming a law enforcement officer so that he can help others.
Wisconsin law prevents an unpardoned felon from becoming a law enforcement officer. The law does not provide Eric with the right to petition the court to have the felony conviction expunged or eliminated. The court may be able to modify the conviction from a felony to a misdemeanor with the agreement of the district attorney’s office. From 2009 to 2012, Eric personally, and through attorneys, asked the Grant County District attorney’s Office to agree to allow him to make that request of the court, but they refused to do so.
Now that you know more about Eric Pizer and the predicament he finds himself in, let’s discuss Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s unwillingness to issue a pardon to Pizer – or anyone else in the State of Wisconsin for that matter. It’s notable that since taking office in 2011, Gov. Walker has not issued a single pardon, but that’s no doubt due to Gov. Walker’s stated (and completely wrong) belief that he really and truly (and very wrongly) “these decisions are best left up to the courts.”
The power to pardon falls to the governor of the State of Wisconsin alone; the courts have absolutely nothing to do with issuing pardons. Gov. Walker’s refusal to issue any pardons – or even consider any pardon applications – is an absolute dereliction of the duties ascribed to him by our state’s Constitution, but it’s not surprising that Gov. Walker has chosen to take a pass on making decisions regarding pardons, given his aversion to showing any signs of compassion and humanity.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can help Eric Pizer’s cause, you can click here.