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Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Murphy: No news on pardon for Middletown mom

Legislators urge pardon for Nikki Tierney

By Nikita Biryukov, January 04 2021 4:20 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy declined to say whether he would issue a pardon for a Middletown woman Monday.

Nikki Tierney, a mother of four, pleaded guilty to a felony child endangerment charge in 2007 after she nearly drowned while at the beach during a supervised visit with one of her sons, who was then four.

In the span since, Tierney has, by all accounts, reformed. She graduated from drug court in 2011 and is seeking to become a licensed alcohol and drug counselor. But her conviction can’t be expunged, and her request for a pardon, backed by at least eight state lawmakers, hasn’t gone anywhere.

“That’s a case that’s been raised by a number of folks with us, but no update on that,” Murphy said.

Some legislators are taking the issue to the governor on their own, hoping they can push him towards a pardon.

“I have spoken directly to Gov. Murphy on the merits of Nikki Tierney’s case,” said State Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch). “He was receptive. I’ve spoken to the governor’s office, and I’m going to continue to lobby them and advocate that she’s worthy of a pardon, and I hope it happens sooner than later.”

The governor hasn’t issued any pardons since taking office, but he says he’s a big proponent of second chances.

“I want to be the state that gives folks, if they deserve it, a second chance,” he said.

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