California Governor Grants 112 Pardons, One Commutation
On December 23, 2016, California Governor Jerry Brown granted 112 pardons and commuted one prison sentence in a continuation of his tradition of issuing pre-Christmas reprieves. Most of the pardons were provided to people who had already completed their sentences for nonviolent drug-related crimes.
In one case, Gwendolyn Irene Harvey received a pardon for her 1988 convictions for robbery and possession of a controlled substance for sale. Governor Brown noted in his pardon message that Harvey had co-founded an organization that advocates for people in substance abuse programs. Louis Calderon was granted a commutation from 32 years to life to 22 years to life for a 1999 gang-related shooting in which the victim lost an eye. Brown wrote, “This is a very serious crime, but it is clear that Mr. Calderon has distinguished himself by his exemplary conduct in prison and his forthright and continuing separation from gang activities of any kind.”
Brown has granted 854 pardons and two commutations since 2011. California governors haven’t been nearly as generous with their pardon power in the recent past; former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger granted only 15 pardons, Gray Davis granted none and Pete Wilson granted just 13.