Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam granted clemency Tuesday to five people, including two Knox County residents.
Joseph Hultquist received a pardon for his 1972 and 1973 convictions of unlawful sale of controlled substances, both in Knox County, when he was 18 years old.
“For over 45 years, Hultquist has been a positive contributor to the Knoxville community,” said the governor’s office in a statement. “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.”
“In 1971, I was arrested in Knoxville’s first big drug operation, ‘Operation Aquarius,’ and that was during the counter culture days, the old, early hippy days,” said Hultquist.
He says he doesn’t know how his life would be different with the conviction.
“It definitely affected me in a positive as well as negative way. The effects are mixed. It’s a difficult experience and yet, you have to deal with it. I tried to deal with it as best I could,” said Hultquist.
Hultquist also ran for mayor of Knoxville in 2011.
He says he called “so many” after he received the news via a phone call from the governor’s office Tuesday because he was so grateful. He submitted a clemency application 4 years ago, not knowing when or if it would be successful.
“I would’ve made it from here, this is so good. I really can’t express what this feels. I just really wish my Mom was here to see,” said Hultquist.
Hultquist’s citizenship rights were judicially restored in 2001. The Board of Parole unanimously recommended granting him a pardon.
In addition, 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,” wore the governor’s office. “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.
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.