The Supreme Court today acceded to Governor Gavin Newsom’s request for recommendations that allow him to issue two pardons. A court recommendation is constitutionally required before a governor can grant clemency to anyone who has been “twice convicted of a felony.”
Now in line for pardons are Jeffrey Mason, who has 1995 and 1997 drug-related felony convictions, and Josue Flores, who was convicted in 1993 of second degree burglary and shooting at an inhabited vehicle.
The court has said it reviews clemency recommendation requests under a deferential standard. (See here and here.) And Newsom has a nearly perfect record — he withdrew one request before a ruling, but the court has approved all 58 of his other requests. That’s better than former Governor Jerry Brown, who had the court without explanation block 10 intended clemency grants. The denial of a request implies that a clemency grant would be an abuse of power.
There are three other clemency recommendation requests pending, including one seeking permission to commute a life without parole sentence.