CA Supreme Court Blocks 10 Of Ex-Gov's Pardons, Citing Abuse Of Power

The California Supreme Court previously noted it has the power to deny requests in cases of an abuse of power.

Sacramento, CA – The California Supreme Court has rejected 10 clemency applications approved by Governor Jerry Brown in his final weeks in office.

It was the first time in nearly 90 years that the court had exercised its power to block a governor’s commutation or pardon requests, The Sacramento Bee reported.

The court has previously noted that it has the power to deny such requests in cases of an “abuse of power,” according to The Associated Press.

The justices do not plan to provide any justification or clarification for their decision, a court representative said.

Brown previously served as governor from 1975 until 1983. He granted 404 pardons and one commutation during that time, The Sacramento Bee reported.

In his last two terms, he granted a staggering 1,332 pardons and 283 commutations – more than any other California governor, according to The Associated Press.

Nine out of the 10 inmates whose requests for commutation were rejected by the court are serving time for their various roles in homicide cases, The Sacramento Bee reported.

“It was like a ton of bricks crushed me,” 47-year-old inmate Joe Hernandez lamented when he learned his commutation request had been denied. “I didn’t know what to say. This was our first real hope after 25 years.”

Hernandez was sentenced to life sentence without the possibility of parole – plus 46 years to life – for killing a rival gang member and later shooting two other men he thought were rival gang members.

Only one of the men survived the attack.

The convicted killer said he believes he was a “political casualty” of the Supreme Court.

Another commutation request denied by the court was that of 40-year-old Jameel Coles, who beat, suffocated, and burned the body of a man who had stopped to give him and his friends a ride in 1997.

Coles was sentenced to life in prison for the murder.

Brown also recommended that Borey Ai be pardoned for murdering a liquor store owner when he was 14, The Sacramento Bee reported.

Ai was paroled in 2016, but was also a Cambodian refugee and faced deportation due to his conviction.

Brown backed him. The Supreme Court did not.

Appellate lawyer David Ettinger said he was unable to determine why the court had rejected the 10 requests but approved so many others, The Sacramento Bee reported.

“There’s really no guidance for future courts, for future clemency requests, for future governors making requests, as to why certain ones might get blocked and certain ones won’t,” Ettinger told the paper. “It is a problem for future courts and future governors, how to apply this general ‘abuse of power’ standard to specific cases.”

Brown complained that he didn’t understand why the court would deny his requests, either.

“Read the ones who were approved and read the ones who were disapproved and you tell me what the rule is,” he told The Sacramento Bee just before he left office in January.

His successor, Governor Gavin Newsom, said that Brown has stressed the importance of the commutation process with regards to fighting back against measures intended to be tough on crime.

“The governor looks at dozens of those every single week,” Newsom said of the commutation applications. “There’s a binder. Quite literally, every time I see him, he shows me the binder and he says, ‘This is one of the most important jobs that you will have.’”

Brown also sealed the commutation files, and argued that they contain information that is “too sensitive” for the public, The Sacramento Bee reported.

Brown’s office asserted that the process a governor uses when deliberating an application should also be protected.

“The thing about governors and clemency is it’s a very powerful tool that does not have a lot of checks on it,” Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen told The Sacramento Bee.

Comments (37)
No. 1-26
Pat1978
Pat1978

How do these people get elected? Either they are con-artists or the people voting for them really are too stupid for their own good.

Dfc3166
Dfc3166

YEAH! About time!

MMcGregor
MMcGregor

GOOD!! It's time a court steps in and say enough!! State governors are pardoning too many that should not be pardoned!! When a court sentences someone to life, and an appeal has been made and upheld - the governor should not pardon unless there is an extreme reason for doing so!! And people in prison are there because they COMMITTED A CRIME - NOT BECAUSE THEY (THINK) THEY ARE POLITICAL PRISONERS!!

Watcher 4
Watcher 4

How about massive voter fraud

MMcGregor
MMcGregor

Watcher 4: Make the sentence against them strict enough they won't do it again - seven years in prison (no good time); they lose their voting right for a period of ten years, and no contact with any political doing during that time...

LorE
LorE

Good. Jerry Brown isout of control.

ProGODProUSA
ProGODProUSA

There probably should have been a lot more rejections if the CA Supreme Court had been doing its job all along - that's a lot of pardons and commutations from one man - even over two terms. What about all the victims - are they going to get their lives back?

MGM2
MGM2

I believe the power to grant pardons or clemency should be removed from all governors and the president. It violets the separation between the political partisanship/party affiliation and the blind eye of the judicial system. The criminal was convicted by a jury of his peers or by an impartial judge and that conviction was upheld by subsequent judges and courts of appeal. Who the hell is a govenor or president who doesnot have to have any knowledge of the law, no relationship or firsthand information to second guess the court's determination.

THEDUKE
THEDUKE

YAH FREAKIN HOO ....Cannot wait to see this Snowflake Moonbeam Maggot leave office on his last day!!!

Jodyt1
Jodyt1

No murderers with life sentences with no possibility for parole or simply just life sentences should EVER get out of prison. They were sentenced that way for a reason. It's disturbing to think the Gov should have that right! Did he think of the families of the victims? I'm glad Supreme Court intervened. At least somebody had a conscience.

Tammer
Tammer

About time some common sense is used in California

Oreguniun
Oreguniun

Sounds like the state of California is trying to set a political precedence. I smell something more sinister behind this one.

LEO0301
LEO0301

About time a court did the right thing. And the prisoner who said this ruling hit him like a ton of bricks...GOOD! I'm glad he was given a little hope only to have it pulled away from him.

LostAllSanity
LostAllSanity

I hope some of the rural Californians had the opportunity to help Moonbeam on his last day by throwing his crap into the street. Good riddance you vile moron.

BulletMagnetEd
BulletMagnetEd

It is nice to see a CA court do something right, even if in a hall-bakes way. Not providing guidance why these particular cases were denied pardons or clemency won’t stop the next raging Leftist from trying again.

Grog
Grog

===[Appellate lawyer David Ettinger said he was unable to determine why the court had rejected the 10 requests....]=== Maybe they were rejected because these 10 requests are from scumbags who should have been fried!!!!

RPG156
RPG156

If the SCOCA rejected Moonbeam's convict pardons... then they REALLY must have been weak. Really weak.

bob95648
bob95648

Abuse of power? The man abused his power in California for eight terms. What's new?

Skidoo
Skidoo

There is no good news coming out of California. It's a smokescreen; keep 10 killers in prison, make a lot of noise about it and then quietly release thousands of dangerous, violent convicts back to the street.

debs37
debs37

Finally a little help from that end of the world. That person (female) is supposed to be teaching and monitoring our students and she flounts the rules!

magnumforc
magnumforc

Brown was always a far left leaning asshole. The press like to call him a conservative but, as with most press, that's a lie.

Stanracer
Stanracer

Hug-a-thug, bleeding heart liberal.

Freepetta
Freepetta

Moonbeam is a pathetic slob. The politicians have ruined what used to be a beautiful state.

HH3
HH3

I say that they all should be allowed to leave prison!!!

The only requirement is that they must reside with the ex governor. Wear an ankle bracelet that explodes if a set distance from the main house is breached. If the governor thinks that they should be living with others then, he should be happy to have them live with him and his family.

checksix
checksix

The convicted killer said he believes he was a “political casualty” of the Supreme Court. And what kind of "casualty" were your victims?

Oldvlc
Oldvlc

Long time since CA was a nice state.