Newsom has already pardoned more people in 22 months than Schwarzenegger did his entire tenure
On Tuesday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed 39 pardons, commutations, and medical reprieves of criminals who either have been or still are incarcerated.
Of the 39 signed on Tuesday, 22 were pardons, 13 were commutations, and 4 were medical reprieves caused by COVID-19 issues. 10 of the criminals are currently in federal immigration detention facilities facing deportation. Governor Newsom specifically noted the deportation issue in signing the pardons, noting that they would be disproportionate retribution compared to the crimes they committed.
“Their deportations would be an unjust collateral consequence that would harm their families and communities,” noted Newsom’s office in the pardons.
While the Governor’s office noted that pardons will not be able to erase convictions, they would largely remove the pardoned crimes from being used against them in a deportation ruling. One person pardoned on Tuesday, Somdeng Thongsy, had killed one person and injured two others in a gang related incident in 1997 and had been facing deportation back to Laos. However, Newsom’s pardon halted that.
Many others who were pardoned, including a 71-year-old serving a life sentence for stealing a VCR in 1995 as part of a “three strikes” ruling, were senior citizens. One criminal who was pardoned was 87 years old.
Most of the pardons were for drug-related crimes, such as marijuana-related convictions prior to legalization laws in California passed last decade.
Those who had sentences commuted, which means that they are currently in prison and can be fast-tracked to being paroled, were largely in prison due to murder, shootings, gang-related crimes, and assault.
One such criminal, James Jacobs, murdered someone outside a nightclub in 2004 at the age of 15. However, Newsom decided to commute his sentence based on his good behavior and his rehabilitation efforts in custodial maintenance.
Published: November 12, 2020
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News