Sacramento, CA – California Governor Jerry Brown pardoned three former prisoners who were facing deportation to Cambodia, including one man convicted of murder.
The three ex-prisoners were among 36 pardons Brown made within the past week, according to the Associated Press.
One of the pardons was to Cambodian refugee Vanna In, who served six years in prison for the murder of a fellow gang member when he was 17. He was released from prison in 2001.
In initially came to the U.S. at age 3.
Once out of prison, In started Jobs of Hope for former gang members. Brown’s pardon states that In has “helped dozens of individuals to turn away from gangs and become law abiding, productive citizens.”
“While the seriousness of the crime can never be minimized, I believe that Mr. In should be permitted to have the chance at remaining in a community to which he has devoted a life of service,” Brown wrote in the pardon, according to the Associated Press.
Brown wrote that In is currently under a deportation order and has been in this country as a lawful permanent resident.
Non-citizen permanent residents generally face deportation after committing crimes of moral turpitude, such as violent crimes.
In posted Aug. 17 on Facebook: “Big thank you to Gov Jerry Brown for granting Myself and others a pardon. Thank you to my wife who has been on her knees since our marriage.”
“Thank you to everyone who has been journeying with me this last decade and a half, who wrote a letter, signed my petition and prayed on my behalf,” In continued. “Next step, reopening deportation case to get ordered reversed. Until then, we celebrate. All praise and honor goes to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. #pardoned#familiestogether#gamechanger”
Phal Sok was another Cambodian refugee pardoned. Sok served 15 years in prison for armed robbery. He now works for criminal justice reform, according to the Associated Press.
According to Brown’s pardon, Sok has lived in the U.S. for 37 years as a permanent resident and is currently under removal proceedings.
Los Angeles-area business man Heng Lao is another Cambodian refugee who was pardoned. He served two years in prison for assault with a deadly weapon.
“Those granted pardons all completed their sentences years ago and the majority were convicted of drug-related or other nonviolent crimes,” Brown’s office said in a statement, according to the Associated Press. “Pardons are not granted unless they are earned.”
Brown has granted 1,186 pardons since he took office in 2001. He also granted 404 pardons when he served as governor from 1975 to 1983.
Brown also commuted the sentences of 31 current prisoners so they can seek speedier paroles, the Associated Press reported.