California Governor Gavin Newsom pardoned 10 more criminals during the weekend before Christmas, with the majority of them having drug related-charges dating back to the late 1970’s.
According to a press release by the Governor’s office Friday, “The California Constitution gives the Governor the authority to grant pardons. The Governor regards clemency as an important part of the criminal justice system that can incentivize accountability and rehabilitation and increase public safety by removing counterproductive barriers to successful reentry. A pardon may also remove unjust collateral consequences of conviction, such as deportation and permanent family separation.”
“Pardons do not forgive or minimize the harm caused by crime. Instead, these pardons recognize the pardon grantees’ self-development and rehabilitation since then.
“Governor Newsom weighs numerous factors in his review of clemency applications, including an applicant’s conduct since the offense, whether the grant is consistent with public safety and in the interest of justice, and the impact of a grant on the community, including crime victims and survivors.”
Amongst the ten pardoned by Newsom include:
- John Berger, who received four years of probation and 60 days in jail in 1995 for transporting a controlled substance.
- Lucas Beltran Dominguez, who received three years of probation in 2008 for transporting or selling marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale. He also currently faces deportation.
- Michael Farrier, who received five years of probation and 45 days in jail in 1990 for first degree burglary and second degree robbery.
- Kimberly Gregorio, who received four years of probation and 180 days in jail in 1988 for possession of a controlled substance for sale and obstructing an officer.
- James King Ill, who received three years of probation and 180 days in jail in 1988 for the sale of cocaine.
- Santiago Lopez, who received multiple sentences between 200 and 2004, including three years of probation and 113 days in jail for
possession of marijuana for sale, a fine for possession of marijuana for sale, and three years in prison for possession of a controlled substance for sale and possession of marijuana for sale.
- Kenneth Lyerly, who received three years of probation and 120 days in jail in 2004 for possession of a controlled substance for sale.
- Jimmy Platon, who received 12 months of probation for trespassing in 1973, and four years of probation for possession of a
controlled substance for sale in 1978.
- Julie Ruehle, who received two years in prison in 1999 for possession of a controlled substance and taking a vehicle without consent.
- Kathy Uetz, who received two years of probation and three days in jail for possession of a controlled substance in 1991 and three years of probation and 120 days in jail for possession of a controlled substance for sale in 1997.
Pardons by Governor Newsom
Including the ten pardoned during the weekend, Newsom has now granted a total of 140 pardons, 123 commutations and 35 reprieves since taking office in 2019. This includes prior pardons of murderers and those with major drug charges.
“Newsom has been aiming for less and less controversial people to commute recently, so he’s been looking at older crimes, crimes that today would not fly, like marijuana charges, and people who have started programs and things, like to get youths away from dealing drugs,” explained Gordon Vasquez, a former Sheriff’s Deputy who now assists victims’ families in keeping criminals seeking parole in jail, to the Globe on Monday. “Newsom’s latest reprieves covered all of those.”
“As he goes into his second term, he has been very trigger-happy on forgiving people. Like, very trigger happy. He’s already close to setting the record of most pardons and commutations, and he’s not even done with his first term.”
Former Governor Jerry Brown issued 143 pardons and 131 commutations between 2011 and 2019. Before him, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued only 15 pardons and former Governor Gray Davis gave 0 pardons.
“You should look at what they did after their prison or probation time, of course,” added Vasquez. “But victims and victims families usually are not too happy about hearing that the crime now essentially never happened. That is why Newsom is doing less and less controversial people and not even considering Manson followers and other infamous California killers right now for parole. He wants a lot fewer people judging him on who he picks.”
Newsom is expected to reach the California Governor record of commutations and pardons early next year.
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