Governor Newsom announces leniency measures and signs executive order for independent inquiry into Kevin Cooper case

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that he has granted 14 pardons, 13 commutations and 8 medical stays. In addition, the governor signed an executive order to launch an independent investigation into the case of death row inmate Kevin Cooper as part of the assessment of Cooper’s clemency request.

The inquest will examine the trial and appeal records in the case, the facts underlying the conviction and all available evidence, including the results of recently performed DNA tests previously ordered by the governor to examine additional evidence. in the case using the latest and most scientifically reliable. forensic testing.

The text of the Governor’s Decree is available here.

The California Constitution gives the governor the power to grant executive leniency in the form of a pardon, commutation, or stay. These leniency grants recognize applicants’ subsequent personal development efforts or the existence of a medical requirement. They do not forgive or minimize the harm done.

The governor views leniency as an important part of the criminal justice system that can encourage accountability and rehabilitation, increase public safety by removing counterproductive barriers to successful re-entry, correct unfair outcomes in the legal system, and respond to challenges. health needs of prisoners at high medical risk. .

A pardon can remove counterproductive barriers to employment and public service, restore civic rights and responsibilities, and prevent unjust collateral consequences of a conviction, such as deportation and permanent separation from the family. A forgiveness does not erase or erase a condemnation.

Commutation modifies a sentence, making an incarcerated person eligible for early release or allowing them to appear before the Parole Hearings Board for a hearing in which the parole boards determine whether the person is fit to be released.

A conditional sentence allows those classified by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation as high medical risk to serve their sentences in appropriate alternative placements in the community, in accordance with public health and public safety.

The governor assesses many factors in his consideration of leniency applications, including the personal development and conduct of an applicant since the offense, whether the grant is compatible with public safety and in the best interests justice, and the impact of a grant on the community, including victims of crime and survivors.

During his tenure, Governor Newsom granted a total of 86 pardons, 92 commutations and 28 stays.

Governor’s office encourages victims, survivors and witnesses to register with CDCR Office for Victims and Survivors Rights and Services to receive information about the status of an incarcerated person. For general information on victim services, to learn more about victim-offender dialogues, or to record or update a recording confidentially, please visit or call 1-877-256-6877 (toll free).

Copies of the Governor’s Clemency Certificates announced today can be found here.

Additional information on executive leniency can be found here.


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