In what has become an annual holiday tradition, Gov. Jerry Brown this week granted pardons to 104 convicts who have proven to courts that they have rehabilitated themselves, the governor's office said.
An overwhelming number of cases involved drug possession, and several even covered marijuana-related crimes that might not even raise an eyebrow today. Even minor “hard-drug” possession has been knocked down to an automatic misdemeanor in most cases under Prop. 47, which California voters passed last month.
Still, there were some interesting pardon recipients this year, including a woman, Anong Baker, who served four years following 1992 sentencing in Merced County for “soliciting to commit murder.”
Several folks convicted of robbery or assault with a deadly weapon (not involving guns) made the list, too. The governor's office said all the pardon recipients “have been released from custody for more than a decade without further criminal activity.”
One man, Michael Joseph Moradian, Jr., was sentenced to three years of probation in 1986 because, according to the governor's office, he “took expensive wine out of a wine cellar and drank it.”
One pardon had to be taken back, and the governor's office then had to revise its press release on the pardons.
Glen William Carnes was convicted of a drug-related crime when he was a teen in 1998. He had proven to his local court, as had all the people on the pardon list, that he was worthy of a Certificate of Rehabilitation.
But after it was revealed that Carnes did not disclose a 2013 rebuke from the state Financial Industry Regulatory Authority for “an unapproved private securities transaction,” the governor's office retracted his pardon.
Carnes told Associated Press he had been celebrating the pardon all week and that he wasn't aware it was rescinded until an AP reporter called him about it.
“Oh my God,” he said. “You've got to be kidding me. I was told by attorneys that it didn't need to be disclosed.”
The governor's office explained that a pardon pretty much wipes a crime from one's record. Paradoxically, however, the existence of said pardon is public record. Here's how Brown's people put it:
When a pardon is granted, the California Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are notified so that they may update their records on the applicant. The pardon is filed with the Secretary of State and the Legislature, and it is a public record.
You can find the list of all the pardoned ex-convicts here.