Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today granted executive clemency to five current or former Tennesseans.
"These five individuals have made exceptional positive contributions to their communities and will be able to contribute even further by these grants of executive clemency," Haslam said. "After thoughtfully considering their cases, I believe these individuals are deserving of pardons."
Joseph Hultquist received a pardon for his 1972 and 1973 convictions of unlawful sale of controlled substances, both in Knox County, which arose from the same course of events when he was 18 years old. For over 45 years, Hultquist has been a positive contributor to the Knoxville community. In addition to being self-employed in the construction industry, he was elected to and served on the Knoxville City Council for several years and has been a strong supporter of economic development initiatives in the Knoxville area. Hultquist's citizenship rights were judicially restored in 2001. The Board of Parole unanimously recommended granting him a pardon.
Vanessa Luellen received a pardon for her 1984 conviction of fraudulent breach of trust and 1992 conviction of facilitating the sale of a controlled substance, both of which occurred in Shelby County. Luellen has since become a leader in her community and church, seeking to use her experience overcoming a lifestyle of drugs and crime to help others avoid the same. She has worked to improve public safety as president of the Mitchell Heights Neighborhood Association and completed the Memphis Police Department Citizens' Police Academy Training Program in 2009. For her service to the Memphis community, Luellen received a Women of Achievement Award in 2012. Luellen also worked for 19 years as a security guard for Firestone Dental Group. The Board of Parole unanimously recommended granting Luellen a pardon.
James Mulholland received a pardon for his 1971 convictions in Knox County of simple robbery, taking an automobile without consent, kidnapping, and armed robbery, which resulted from his participation in an attempt to rob two Knoxville hotels in 1971, when he was 19 years old. For nearly 50 years, Mulholland has had a clean record and, in 1995, started his own garage door installation, maintenance, and repair business. Mulholland has been active in his community and church, and he was honorably discharged from the United States Navy, after being awarded the National Defense Service Medal. The Board of Parole unanimously recommended granting Mulholland a pardon.
Scott Rushing received a pardon for his 1987 conviction for assault and battery in Shelby County, which resulted from an altercation when Rushing was a high school senior. Rushing is a graduate of the University of Utah and the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, is now a gynecologic oncologist and pelvic surgeon in Vancouver, Wash., where he serves as the chief medical officer at Compass Oncology, P.C. In addition to his work there, Rushing has traveled to Rwanda and Peru, among other places, to provide medical services to impoverished women and plans to expand such work in the future. The Tennessee Board of Parole unanimously recommended granting Rushing a pardon.
Robert Williams received a pardon for his 1982 Shelby County convictions of petit larceny, attempt of a felony, and possession of burglary tools resulting from his attempt to break into two cars. For more than 35 years, Williams has had a clean record and has been a positive contributor to his community. He has been employed by Memphis Light, Gas and Water for nearly 20 years, where he is a fraud investigator, and he has also volunteered as a juvenile probation officer since 2001, in order to help others avoid the mistakes he made. Williams is also a veteran of the United States Army. The Board of Parole recommended granting him a pardon.
Executive clemency is an act of mercy or leniency by the governor after a criminal conviction, and more specifically, a pardon is a statement of forgiveness that may assist with restoration of rights or expungement of a criminal record by a judge or overcoming the collateral consequences of a conviction with respect to obtaining housing and employment.
The governor continues to review and consider additional clemency requests.