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Supreme Court Signs Off On Commutation Of LWOP Sentence, With An Older Clemency Recommendation Reque

04/21/2021--The Supreme Court today recommended that Governor Gavin Newsom commute Tyrone Haymond‘s life-without-parole sentence for a 1979 conviction of kidnapping for ransom resulting in bodily harm. Newsom requested the recommendation, which is a constitutional prerequisite to a clemency grant for anyone who has been “twice convicted of a felony.” Haymond has prior felony convictions for selling narcotics, violating federal narcotics laws, and forgery. The commutation would make Haymond eligible for a parole suitability hearing. Newsom is now 20 for 20 in having the court approve his pardons and sentence commutations, which is considerably better than former Governor Jerry Brown, who had the court, without explanation, block 10 intended clemency grants. There are now 15 clemency recommendation requests pending before the court. The oldest one — for Anthony Banks — was submitted in May 2020, which is three months before Newsom sent the Haymond request that was ruled on today. Also, the court has already ruled on two requests submitted at the same time as Banks’s and two others sent after the Banks request. (The most recent seven requests were submitted just last month.) The last time a clemency recommendation request languished behind others, as Banks’s is doing, we speculated the delay might portend a negative ruling and/or an opinion — by the court or by an individual justice — to address the so far unanswered questions about how clemency recommendation requests are reviewed. Those guesses were wrong.

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