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Governor Newsom Requests Supreme Court To Allow Seven More Clemency Grants

03/18/2021--Under the state constitution, at least four Supreme Court justices must recommend clemency before the Governor can pardon, or commute the sentence of, someone who has been “twice convicted of a felony.” Governor Gavin Newsom currently has 15 clemency recommendation requests that have been waiting a long time for court action. They have been pending between 7 and 11 months. The Governor’s first 13 requests — all of which were granted — were on the court’s docket for a median time of just five weeks before rulings, and all but two were acted on within seven weeks. The two outliers took 15 and 20 weeks. Despite the court’s delay, Newsom today submitted seven more clemency recommendation requests to the court. The latest clemency candidates, and the publicly available information Newsom submitted about their criminal records, are: Yvette Cooper: the Governor wants to commute a 2009, 22-year sentence for three counts of burglary. The commutation would make Cooper eligible for release on parole. Suzanne Bishop: the Governor wants to commute a 2013 sentence of 190-years-to-life for convictions including robbery as a third strike and vehicle theft as a repeat offender. The commutation would make Bishop eligible for an earlier parole suitability hearing. Samath Duong: the Governor wants to pardon Duong for unspecified 1993 and 2002 felonies. The Governor also does not publicly disclose the length of the sentences Duong served or is serving. Rodney Henderson: the Governor wants to commute a 1997, 40-years-to-life sentence for robbery as a third strike with sentence enhancements. The commutation would make Henderson eligible for release on parole. Robert Escareño: the Governor wants to commute a 2002, 175-years-to-life sentence for robbery and carjacking as a third strike with sentence enhancements. The commutation would make Escareño eligible for an earlier parole suitability hearing. Gary Elerick: the Governor wants to commute a 2006, 45-years-to-life sentence for robbery as a third strike with sentence enhancements. The commutation would make Elerick eligible for release on parole. Douglas Carson: the Governor wants to commute a 2007, 35-years-to-life sentence for robbery as a third strike, possession of a controlled substance, and other charges. The commutation would make Carson eligible for release on parole.

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