Gov. Chris Christie issued 26 pardons late Friday night. The outgoing governor even called one of the recipients himself.
Brandon Fregm was sitting with his family in Brogue, Pennsylvania, Friday night when the 30-year-old got the phone call that he said will allow him to go back to work and move on with his life.
The 8 p.m. call was from an attorney who told him Gov. Chris Christie had issued a pardon that ends his two-year legal battle in the New Jersey court system over a weapons conviction.
“It was a big life-changer,” Fregm said in a phone interview Saturday. “Everyone was super excited.”
The Pennsylvania man was one of 26 people granted clemency days before Christie leaves office. The outgoing governor did not say why he issued the orders hours after the courts had closed for the weekend.
Christie doles out 26 last-minute clemency orders
Fregm was arrested on March 9, 2015, while driving through New Jersey with a loaded handgun on the back seat of his car, according to court records. He was licensed to carry in Pennsylvania, but not New Jersey.
After his felony conviction, Fregm said it was near impossible for him to find work as an ironworker since the majority of the contracts were for work in school or government buildings.
“Make sure you know the rules of the state you travel through,” he said, reflecting on the charges. “One little thing turned my whole life around.”
Six others — Brian Aitken, Hisashi Pompey, Meghan Fellenbaum, Brian Murphy, Adrian Rubio, Antonio Scott, Angel Cordero and Christopher O’Sullivan — were pardoned for unlawful possession of a weapon convictions. The full details of many of their cases weren’t immediately accessible.
Pompey, a U.S. Marine, was facing two years in prison last year when Christie commuted his sentence over a nightclub incident in Fort Lee. Fellenbaum, a Pennsylvania resident, was arrested for having a firearm in her trunk.
Aitken’s case became a symbol for gun-law advocates in the U.S. when he was convicted on multiple weapons charges after police found three unloaded handguns and ammunition in the trunk of the former Mount Laurel man’s car in 2009.
Aitken had purchased the guns legally in Colorado. The next, year Christie commuted his seven-year sentence to time-served.
He was also pardoned of a simple assault conviction stemming from a separate 2009 arrest, the details of which were not known or previously reported.
Aitken and Pompey did not immediately respond to calls for comment.
Eleven others had their slate wiped clean of drugs charges. Those included Altorice Frazier, a Newark resident who was sentenced in 1999 to 13 years for drug trafficking but since his release has worked to give back his community, working with ex-cons and in parent advocacy.
The governor even called him personally, he said.
“I was in Wendy’s with my daughter, who is five, and I was just stuck,” Frazier said in an interview, explaining that he …read more
Source:: New Jersey Real-Time News