The Supreme Court today granted Governor Gavin Newsom permission to commute a 25 years to life sentence for robbery as a third strike. The sentence was imposed on Michael Holmes in 2007 and a commutation would make him eligible for an earlier parole suitability hearing.
The Governor is constitutionally required to get the court’s positive recommendation before he can grant clemency to anyone who has been “twice convicted of a felony.” Newsom made the recommendation request for Holmes last month. The court has said it reviews requests for those recommendations under a deferential standard of review.
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 38 of 38 requests he has submitted. That’s better than former Governor Jerry Brown, who had the court without explanation block 10 intended clemency grants.
Four recommendation requests are still pending. All were submitted at the same time as the Holmes request, as were two others that the court granted two weeks ago.