Capitol Alert

Gov. Jerry Brown pardons 104 for Christmas

Gov. Jerry Brown continued his tradition of issuing pardons on Christmas Eve.
Gov. Jerry Brown continued his tradition of issuing pardons on Christmas Eve. The Associated Press

Gov. Jerry Brown pardoned 104 people on Wednesday, continuing his tradition of granting judicial mercy for Christmas.

As usual, years-old drug crimes like possessing and transporting controlled substances or cultivating marijuana accounted for most of the offenses being forgiven. Each person winning a pardon has already completed their sentences and won a certificate of rehabilitation from a Superior Court. To be eligible, the pardon applicant must have remained out of trouble for 10 years after completing a sentence.

“A gubernatorial pardon is an honor that may be granted to people who have demonstrated exemplary behavior following their conviction. A pardon will not be granted unless it has been earned,” a document from the Governor’s Office explains.

But Brown rescinded one of the pardons after the Los Angeles Times reported that Glen Williams Carnes, convicted of possessing drugs for sale in 1998 in Orange County, had recently settled a case with the federal Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. According to the letter of consent he signed with the agency in May 2013, Carnes agreed to be barred from financial dealings. He did not admit to the findings, which included trying to acquire an outside business without approval from his firm and providing “false and misleading statements” to investigators.

“Information was not disclosed by the applicant and the grant was made based on the certificate of rehabilitation issued by the Superior Court,” said Brown spokesman Evan Westrup. “Without the certificate of rehabilitation, this individual would not have been considered for a pardon. This particular pardon had not been attested by the secretary of state and was subsequently withdrawn.”

In addition to drug-related offenses, people receiving pardons Wednesday had committed crimes like burglary and grand theft. That included people who stole a motorcycle from a garage; took items from a storage facility; and a man who “took expensive wine out of a wine cellar and drank it.”

Others were convicted of conspiring to rob a convenience store, robbing a bar while armed, stealing a friend’s car, submitting false documents to get a driver’s license, dissuading a witness from testifying and vehicular manslaughter.

One woman served five years for soliciting to commit murder; a man stabbed his brother in the arm during a fight; another hurled a whiskey bottle through the skylight of a pawn shop; and a man served five months in prison for grand theft after he “pretended to have a weapon under his shirt and demanded money.”

(Type in a county name or other search term in the table below to get more information about Wednesday’s pardons.)

Even for people who have served their sentences in full, pardons can have meaningful consequences such as being again allowed to serve on juries or work as parole officers and, in some cases, possess firearms.

Since committing their crimes, many of the people pardoned Wednesday settled outside of California. People receiving pardons claimed 18 other states as their residences.

Brown, a former Jesuit seminarian, regularly announces pardons around the time of notable dates on the Christian calendar. On Good Friday this year, he announced 63 pardons, mostly for long-ago drug crimes. He pardoned 127 people last Christmas Eve, adding to 65 announced on the day before Easter and 79 pardons rolled out on Dec. 24, 2012.

Last year, Brown’s Christmas Eve clemency extended both to former drug violators and to people convicted of unusual offenses like stealing frozen food and purloining items from the yard of a deceased friend.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to include information about the rescinded pardon.

Call Jeremy B. White, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5543.