Originally posted on December 15

At the request of Governor Gavin Newsom, the Supreme Court today recommended clemency for Joseph Giddings and Jose Garcia.

The Governor is constitutionally required to get the court’s recommendation before he can grant clemency to anyone who has been “twice convicted of a felony.”  Newsom made the recommendation requests for Giddings and Garcia in October.  The court has said it reviews requests for those recommendations under a deferential standard of review.

The Governor can now pardon Giddings for convictions of a drug-related felony in 1996 and grand theft in 1997, and he can commute Garcia’s 1988 sentence of life without parole plus nine years for kidnapping for ransom, kidnapping, and robbery. The commutation would make Garcia eligible for a parole suitability hearing.

Today’s action maintains Newsom’s nearly perfect record of clemency recommendation requests.  Not counting one request that Newsom withdrew before a ruling, the court has approved 40 of 40 requests he has submitted.  That’s better than former Governor Jerry Brown, who had the court without explanation block 10 intended clemency grants.