SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Gov. Jerry Brown continued his practice of forgiveness on Christmas Eve by issuing 105 pardons, mostly for people who have been convicted of nonviolent drug offenses and burglary more than a decade ago.
The pardons issued Wednesday included a Stanislaus County man sentenced to three years’ probation in 1986 for taking expensive wine out of a wine cellar and drinking it. Michael Joseph Moradian Jr. has since “lived an honest and upright life, exhibited good moral character, and conducted himself as a law-abiding citizen,” Brown wrote in his pardon.
The governor’s office said all those granted pardons had completed their sentences and had been released from custody for more than a decade without committing additional crimes. The Democratic governor said he issues pardons to those who earn them by demonstrating “exemplary behavior” and living productive lives.
The practice was relatively commonplace until the 1990s. Ronald Reagan, a Republican, granted 574 during his two terms as governor, and George Deukmejian, a Republican and former state attorney general, granted 325 during his two terms.
The practice declined after that. Former Republican Gov. Pete Wilson, who was elected to the first of his two terms in 1990, granted just 13 pardons, while former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued 15. Gray Davis, a Democrat, issued no pardons before he was recalled from office in 2003, partway through his second term.
Brown revived the practice and has handed out 510 pardons since taking office in 2011.
A gubernatorial pardon does not erase a conviction but rather restores certain rights, such as allowing the person to serve on a jury. It also gives them the ability to own a gun, unless they had been convicted of a crime involving a dangerous weapon, and allows them to work as a county probation officer or state parole agent.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.