Governor Eddie Baza Calvo has offered a second chance to a man who has paid his debt to society and built a life for himself and his family. This marks the second round of pardons since the Governor announced his 'Second Chance' initiative during his State of the Island address.
“We want to help people who are serious about turning their lives around and who want to make a difference in our community,” Governor Calvo said. “I commend Mr. Duenas for his determination to build a better future for himself, his children and grandchildren.”
Governor Calvo pardoned Michael Cruz Duenas who was arrested in 1997 for possession of a schedule II controlled substance. Mr. Duenas served his time, did his community service and paid the court-determined fine. In 2002, he faced charges for driving while under the influence of alcohol; he served his probation and community service time and paid a fine.
Mr. Duenas has been gainfully employed and has been taking care of his family. He said he sought the pardon because he wanted to do more in his life without being weighed down by his past.
“As humans we are bound to make mistakes, but our mistakes should not define who we are,” Mr. Duenas said, adding that he wanted to encourage others who find themselves in a situation where past mistakes are holding them back. “Don’t ever give up. You should always strive to reach that light at the end of the tunnel, there is always hope.”
In addition to meeting the criteria of the Second Chance initiative, the Governor interviewed Mr. Duenas before a final decision was reached on his pardon.
“I think we all acknowledge that it is important that people pay their debt to society if they have broken the law,” the Governor said. “But we have to allow people the opportunity to build a new life, especially when they have shown their commitment to doing better. I believe Mr. Duenas will live up to his promise to his family, to this community and to himself that he will continue this journey to reach his greatest potential.”