ByMark Newton, writer at
Movie Pilot Associate Editor. Email: [email protected]
Mark Newton

Mark Wahlberg's young criminal past is a matter of historical and legal record. Now, there's not a whole lot he can do about history, but he is now hoping he can remove some of his criminal deeds from public and legal records.

According to TMZ, Wahlberg has filed legal documents with the Massachusetts Parole Board requesting that his 1988 felony assault conviction be officially pardoned - essentially making these records unavailable to any private or public body.

He's pursuing this in the hope of becoming a reservist police officer for the LA area. Currently, his criminal record prevents him from handling guns - except in movies, it would seem - while it's also not exactly looked kindly upon when applying for the police force.

Wahlberg apparently became interested in the police after playing detective roles in films such as The Other Guys, Max Payne and The Departed - although, in that last one, he spent most of the time calling people the C-word and punching Matt Damon, which isn't exactly text-book police work.

The Crimes

This used to be Mark Wahlberg
This used to be Mark Wahlberg

Wahlberg's past is peppered with several extremely distasteful crimes. He first pinged on the police radar in 1986, when aged 14, he was subject to a civil rights action when he hurled rocks and racial slurs at local black school children. Wahlberg agreed to the final judgement, but did not accept guilt, although he did agree not to assault or intimidate anyone based on their race. That agreement didn't last very long.

The more serious offenses came in 1988, when Wahlberg, then 16, assaulted two Vietnamese men on the street. The first victim, Thanh Lam, who was carrying two crates of beer at the time, was subjected to an unprovoked assault from Wahlberg. The Smoking Gun explains:

Wahlberg was carrying a large wooden stick, approximately five feet long and two to three inches in diameter. Wahlberg approached Thanh Lam calling him a "Vietnam fucking shit," then hit him over the head with the stick. Thanh Lam was knocked to the ground unconscious. The stick broke in two and was later recovered from the scene.
After police arrested Wahlberg... he stated: "You don't have to let him identify me, I'll tell you now that's the mother-fucker who's head I split open," or words to that effect.

Before the police could catch up with Wahlberg, he had committed a second assault on another Vietnamese man, Hoa Trinh.

Wahlberg ran up to Hoa Trinh, put his arm around Hoa Trinh's shoulder, and said: "Police coming, police coming, let me hide." After a police cruiser passed, Wahlberg punched Trinh in the eye, causing him to fall to the ground.
Police arrived and Hoa Trinh identified Wahlberg as the person who punched him. Wahlberg was placed under arrest and read his rights. Thereafter he made numerous unsolicited racial statements about "gooks" and "slant-eyed gooks."

Trinh suffered permanent blindness to one of his eyes, while Wahlberg received a 90-day prison sentence, of which he served 45 days.

In 1992, and by then famous as Marky Mark of Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, Wahlberg managed to avoid criminal charges in another assault on a 20-year old security guard. It is claimed Wahlberg's bodyguard, Derek McCall, held down the victim while Walhberg kicked him in the face repeatedly.

The victim had to have his jaw wired shut, but the case never made it to court as it was settled out of court with an unspecified payment.

What is His Argument for a Pardon?

Since these events, Mark Wahlberg has certainly been able to forgive himself. In an interview with ABC in 2006, he stated:

You have to go and ask for forgiveness, and it wasn’t until I really started doing good and doing right, by other people as well as myself, that I really started to feel that guilt go away. So I don’t have a problem going to sleep at night. I feel good when I wake up in the morning.

Now he is hoping the legal system can officially 'forgive' his crimes with a pardon.

For a pardon to be successful, Wahlberg must prove he has committed no further crimes, and has led a responsible and productive life following his arrest and incarceration.

In his application to the state of Massachusetts, Wahlberg cites his various charitable endeavors as proof he is a changed man. He explains:

I have not engaged in philanthropic efforts in order to make people forget about my past. To the contrary, I want people to remember my past so that I can serve as an example of how lives can be turned around and how people can be redeemed.

He continues:

The more complex answer is that receiving a pardon would be a formal recognition that I am not the same person that I was on the night of April 8, 1988. My hope is that, if I receive a pardon, troubled youths will see this as an inspiration and motivation that they too can turn their lives around and be formally accepted back into society.

His 16-page application concludes:

Why isn't it enough that I have personally risen above my past, found success in Hollywood, have served as a local and national philanthropist and am the father of four beautiful children with my incredible wife?

It will be down to the governor of Massachusetts to decide if Wahlberg will receive a pardon, although it is generally quite rare within the state.

But, perhaps it's unfair to single out Mark Wahlberg for individual scrutiny. He's certainly not the only Hollywood star to have committed some rather serious crimes when a just a mere stripling. Here are three more.

Matthew Broderick

While riding high on the success of Ferris Brueller's Day Off, Matthew Broderick headed to Enniskillen, Northern Ireland with his then secret girlfriend, Jennifer Grey. While driving around the windy country roads, Broderick veered onto the wrong side of the road, colliding head on with another vehicle. The resulting crash killed both of the passengers in the other car instantly, and also left Broderick severely injured.

At the time, he was arrested for causing death by dangerous driving, although this was eventually reduced to the lesser charge of careless driving. Ultimately, he was only required to pay a $175 fine.

Woody Harrelson

Back in 1983, Harrelson was arrested in Columbus, Ohio for disorderly conduct. Apparently, he was dancing in the street and blocking traffic, which led to him being bundled into the back of a police van. However, he managed to jump out of the moving van while laughing manically, and eventually punched one of the two arresting officers in the face.

In 1996, he was arrested again, although this time for planting 4 marijuana hemp seeds in rural Kentucky.

Frank Sinatra

Ol' Blue Eyes was also no stranger to the law in his early years. Back in 1938, the 23 year old was arrested in Bergen County, New Jersey for seduction and adultery - which basically means he was arrested for being one sexy son of a bitch. According to FBI reports, "On the second and ninth days of November 1938 at the Borough of Lodi," and, "under the promise of marriage," Sinatra "did then and there have sexual intercourse with the said complainant, who was then and there a single female of good repute."

Eventually the charges were dropped when it was discovered the woman was already married at the time.


Should Mark Wahlberg receive a pardon?

Source: Guardian, TMZ, BostonHerald

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