The Supreme Court today gave Governor Gavin Newsom permission to commute the sentence of Tracey Pabon.  In 1994, Pabon was sentenced to 50-years-to-life for two counts of robbery as a third strike.  The commutation makes him eligible for an earlier parole suitability hearing.

The governor is constitutionally required to get the court’s recommendation before he can grant clemency to anyone who, like Pabon, has been “twice convicted of a felony.”  The court has said it reviews clemency recommendation requests under a deferential standard of review.

Newsom is now 21 for 21 in having the court approve his pardons and sentence commutations, which is considerably better than former Governor Jerry Brown, who had the court, without explanation, block 10 intended clemency grants.

There are now 14 clemency recommendation requests pending before the court.  As mentioned, the oldest one — for Anthony Banks — was submitted in May 2020.  That was three months before Newsom sent the Pabon request that was ruled on today.  The most recent seven requests were submitted just last month.


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