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Supreme Court Signs Off On Another Sentence Commutation

06/23/2021--The Supreme Court today gave Governor Gavin Newsom permission to commute Yvette Cooper‘s 2009, 22-year and four-month sentence for three counts of burglary. The commutation would make Cooper eligible for release on parole. The Governor is constitutionally required to get the court’s positive recommendation before he can grant clemency to anyone who, like Cooper, has been “twice convicted of a felony.” The court has said it reviews requests for those recommendations under a deferential standard of review. The court has now approved all 35 of Newsom’s pardon and sentence commutation requests. That’s considerably better than former Governor Jerry Brown, who had the court, without explanation, block 10 intended clemency grants. Only one clemency recommendation request remains pending, the one concerning the proposed commutation of Anthony Banks‘s 1996, 35-years-to-life sentence for a third strike robbery conviction. The Governor submitted that request almost 13 months ago and the court just last week returned the Banks file to Newsom with directions to resubmit it with a justification for keeping all or part of it sealed. It’s unclear why there’s been such a long delay for Banks. The Cooper request was docketed only three months ago and a total of 20 requests that have already been ruled on were submitted at the same time or after the one for Banks.

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