California Gov. Gavin Newsom eased the sentences of three dozen current or former felons on Tuesday, including giving pardons to 10 immigrants facing deportation for past crimes.
In total, Newsom gave out 22 pardons, 13 commutations, and four medical reprieves prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Their deportations would be an unjust collateral consequence that would harm their families and communities,” the governor’s office said.
The move from the Democrat is in line with his efforts to prevent deportations based on past imprisonment or criminal records. According to the Associated Press, Newsom has granted 63 pardons, 78 commutations, and four reprieves since taking office two years ago.
People convicted of crimes in California can apply for a pardon either directly or through a certificate of rehabilitation, according to the state website.
Among those pardoned in the most recent actions is Somdeng “Danny” Thongsy, 41, who came to the United States legally when he was two years old. He was sentenced to more than 27 years in prison for killing a rival gang member and injuring two others in 1997, when he was 17.
While pardons don’t erase convictions, they can help immigrants mitigate criminal histories that can be used to make a case for deportation. Commutations modify criminal sentences for those currently incarcerated, allowing them immediate parole or letting them seek it.
David Diaz, who received a commutation, served 21 years for attempted murder, though Diaz denies he ever committed the crime. He was 19 when convicted of shooting and injuring a rival gang member.
Other commutations include people who have been convicted or murder, second-degree murder, attempted murder, assault, and carjacking.
Author: Mica Soellner
Source: Washington Examiner: Gavin Newsom pardons California immigrants facing deportation over criminal records