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'Always a second chance at life': How pardons changed the lives of two Wisconsin residents

Posted at 6:18 PM, Dec 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-04 19:18:49-05

MILWAUKEE — Gov. Tony Evers is giving out 33 more pardons, raising the total number of people pardoned under his administration to more than 100. For a couple of people in southeast Wisconsin, this is a chance to fulfill some lifelong dreams.

“Oh, it was a blessing,” said Earma Jordan, a Milwaukee mom who just received a pardon.

Nearly two decades ago, at 18 years old, Jordan was convicted for possession of cocaine.

“I was holding it for somebody,” said Jordan. “I really wasn’t taught how I am now. I wasn’t brought up the right way. You see, I had a felony at an early age.”

She was not the only one. Ben Rauls, from Fond du Lac, also was arrested at 17. According to the governor’s office, he was caught stealing and damaging property.

“This has all been hanging over my head now for 20 years now,” said Rauls.

Both Rauls and Jordan changed their lives after their convictions. Raul had a child and went to work as a truck driver. He didn’t realize as a teenager, his conviction would mean he could not participate in a long-family tradition, their deer hunting trips. Now the pardon will change that.

“I haven’t gun-hunted in 20 years,” said Rauls. “My mom started crying right away. And my dad is just ecstatic. And my aunts and uncles are all ecstatic and in favor of it."

For Jordan, she became a certified nursing assistant. But her conviction has stopped her from getting her dream job of being a nurse at a hospital.

“A lot of jobs in the hospitals that I applied for when I obtained my CNA license I couldn’t get. So I had to settle to work in group homes and stuff like that,” said Jordan.

She ended opening her own daycare business and now has three locations. But Jordan did not want to give up her dream of being a nurse in a hospital. This year, as Jordan battled non-Hodgkins lymphoma cancer, she decided she wanted to try again. She got her pardon and another chance to try for her dream job.

“Keep going, keep pushing. Don’t anyone ever tell you no. There is always a second chance at life,” said Jordan.

Jordan is now cancer-free and plans to apply for nursing school. Rauls and his family are planning a special hunting trip for next year.

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