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Illinois Governor Pardons Teacher Fired for 23-Year-Old Marijuana Misdemeanor


January 1998

Mike Maynard, a high school teacher whose 1974 misdemeanor conviction for marijuana possession caused him to lose his job was given "official forgiveness" by Illinois Governor Jim Edgar (R) on December 23. Maynard, 43, had been a teacher at Bloom High School in Chicago Heights until 1996, when school officials fired him after discovering his 1974 marijuana conviction. An Illinois law enacted in 1993 to improve teacher certification and ensure that criminals were not given access to children mandated that the high school fire Maynard. Edgar pardoned Maynard following an Illinois Prisoner Review Board recommendation. Edgar said, "This case involves a person who made a mistake young in life and paid his debt to society. Mr. Maynard has been a law-abiding citizen for more than 20 years since this offense'' The pardon will allow Maynard to reapply for a teacher's certificate. However, the conviction will remain on his record. Maynard had sought the pardon for two years (UPI Press Wire, "Edgar Pardons Teacher With Drug Conviction," December 23, 1997) (see "Three Drug Policy Reform Advocates Looking for Higher Office, NewsBriefs, September-October 1997; "Teacher's Firing for 1974 Marijuana Misdemeanor Upheld," NewsBriefs, May-June 1997; "Illinois Teacher Fired for 1974 Marijuana Misdemeanor ..." NewsBriefs, November 1996).