Pardon hearing urged to send message a troubled life can be reclaimed
Thomas Schoolcraft is sworn in by Deputy Attorney General Ann Rice prior to testifying at his pardon hearing on Tuesday. (DAVE SOLOMAN/UNIONLEADER)
No one spoke in opposition to the pardon at the two-hour hearing that included testimony from two Cheshire County commissioners, the Rockingham County attorney, social workers, college professors and Schoolcraft's mother, Carrie Daley of Seabrook.
For the past two years he has also worked as a Cheshire County corrections officer and received glowing reviews for his work with prisoners, even though county jail superintendents throughout the state are concerned that a felon was hired to work at the jail, and they want to change the rules to prevent such hires in the future.
Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams, whose office prosecuted the case, had previously submitted a letter to the council saying the pardon would be "hard to oppose," but he did not take a stand at the hearing.
Current rules do not prohibit a felon from being certified as a county corrections officer, nor do they require convictions be disclosed to the certifying board. Felons are disqualified from state prison jobs and other law enforcement positions.
His attorney, Richard Guerriero of Keene, told the council there was no particular legal standard to guide their decision, and admitted there was no claim of injustice.
New Hampshire governors and the Executive Council have been reluctant to grant pardons, as only a handful have been granted in the past 30 years, according to Councilor Chris Sununu, R-Newfields. "Pardons in this state are a rare thing," he said at the conclusion of the hearing.
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