Capitol Alert

Gov. Jerry Brown pardons 83 on Easter

Gov. Jerry Brown, shown here March 19 answering questions concerning the proposed $1 billion package of emergency drought-relief legislation, on Easter announced a new batch of pardons, wiping away years-old convictions for 83 people.
Gov. Jerry Brown, shown here March 19 answering questions concerning the proposed $1 billion package of emergency drought-relief legislation, on Easter announced a new batch of pardons, wiping away years-old convictions for 83 people. The Associated Press

Gov. Jerry Brown announced Sunday that he had pardoned 83 people for years-old crimes, continuing his practice of granting pardons around major days on the Christian calendar.

The pardons, announced on Easter, were given to people released from prison and not convicted of any crimes for at least a decade, according to Brown’s office.

Most of the pardons were for drug or property crimes, but Brown acted on some higher-profile convictions, as well.

Among those pardoned was Eddy Zheng, a project director at the Community Youth Center of San Francisco, according to Brown’s office.

Zheng was sentenced in 1986 in San Francisco for burglary, robbery, kidnapping to commit robbery and other crimes, the governor’s office said.

Brown said in his pardon message that Zheng, in addition to working at the youth center, has been appointed to numerous commissions and boards in San Francisco and conducted more than 200 anti-violence presentations and workshops in schools.

Brown, a former Jesuit seminarian, routinely announces pardons around Easter and Christmas. The fourth-term Democrat is an unusually forgiving governor, granting 167 pardons last year.

Brown’s predecessor, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, commuted 10 sentences and pardoned just 16 people while in office. Schwarzenegger’s predecessor, Gray Davis, granted no pardons.

Pardons are symbolically significant to many recipients. They also can help with job applications and, in some cases, allow ex-felons to own a gun.

Among people granted pardons Sunday were:

▪ Jerome Goossen, who engaged in an illegal commodities operation and was sentenced in Los Angeles County in 1975 for grand theft, according to Brown’s office.

▪ Eddie Fitzgerald Conerly, who was sentenced in 1994 in Los Angeles County for gross vehicle manslaughter while intoxicated, perjury and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs causing bodily injury, according to Brown’s office. Conerly completed his sentence in 1999.

Brown said in his pardon message that Conerly has volunteered for a group that serves low-income students and formed a youth basketball team with his son. He also is active in his church.

In another instance, Brown pardoned Shaun Fleig, who was sentenced in Sacramento County in 1993 for inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant. In that case, Brown cited Fleig’s military service as evidence of his good conduct.

Call David Siders, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1215. Follow him on Twitter @davidsiders.

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