In Deportation Case, Appeals Court Weighs Connecticut's Power To Pardon

Sep 4, 2019

An appeals court heard arguments Tuesday in the deportation case of Wayzaro Walton, a Hartford mother and green card holder. 

Lawyer Erin O’Neil-Baker spoke on behalf of Walton, who is being held at an ICE detention facility in Boston. She says Walton received a full pardon for her shoplifting convictions in January from the state’s parole board. ICE officials say her pardon is invalid since it was not issued by the governor. 

“For ICE to not respect the Connecticut pardon, it’s a violation of the 10th Amendment that says states have the power to make their own system of pardons.”

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong argued that the state’s pardon system is legitimate. 

“In Connecticut we have an ‘all or nothing’ pardon process, which means once you get a pardon, you get pardoned for all prior offenses. And so as far as the state of Connecticut is concerned, any convictions, offenses that have occurred prior to this date, are completely gone as if they never happened at all.”  

Tong seeks a stay of removal while the court considers whether Connecticut’s parole system meets federal standards. 

Walton remains in custody in Boston.