On Easter Sunday, California Gov. Jerry Brown pardoned 83 people who had previously been convicted of crimes. The timing of the pardon on this particular holiday seems appropriate, given Easter’s representation of renewal and rebirth, and the fact that Pontius Pilate also had a tradition of pardoning those convicted.
A pardon from the governor – or “gubernatorial” pardon – is not an easy thing to come by. A gubernatorial pardon may be granted to individuals who have lived productive lives and demonstrated exemplary behavior following their conviction. “Pardons are not granted unless they are earned,” according to the press release from the governor’s office.
Earning a pardon can be a lengthy process; some of those on the list have waited 40 years to have their past transgressions forgiven.
The individuals granted pardons on Sunday had all completed their sentences and had been released from prison for at least 10 years. All applicants for a pardon who were eligible obtained a Certificate of Rehabilitation, which is an order from a superior court declaring that a person convicted of a crime is now rehabilitated. Additionally, the individuals granted pardons have not had any criminal convictions within the last 10 years.
Those pardoned had previously been convicted of a variety of crimes, including:
- selling marijuana
- planting or cultivating marijuana (conviction from 1975)
- robbery with use of a firearm
- possession of a controlled substance
- possession for sale of a controlled substance
- manufacturing a controlled substance
- driving under the influence with three or more priors
- violation of a temporary restraining order
- check fraud
- gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated
- threatening a crime with intent to terrorize
- domestic violence
- possession of a dangerous weapon (using brass knuckles in a fight)
- grand theft (another conviction from 1975)
- preventing or dissuading a witness with threat of force
- possession of ephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine
- false imprisonment
The variety of crimes is telling, since some people don’t believe that they can move on from certain past misdeeds. The people on this list tell a different story: Someone can have a meaningful and productive life even after a conviction.
For more information on clearing past records, you can check out our growing California Penal Code resource (Refer to the Records Expungement “Quick Guide” on the page).