Most people know that the governor of any given state has the power to grant a pardon to a prisoner, freeing them both from incarceration and any restrictions placed on paroles and ex-convicts. For many, this is a last-chance opportunity to be given freedom. On the other hand, while governors rarely invoke the power, they also have the opportunity to deny parole to someone they do not believe has earned freedom from incarceration. San Marcos defense lawyer Peter M. Liss can help explain what this means for most defendants.
While it is rare for a governor to veto a parole, it does happen. In fact, Governor Jerry Brown recently reversed a parole board decision to release Jesus Cecena, who was convicted of killing a police officer in 1978. Brown’s decision was backed by both law enforcement organizations and district attorneys, but many criminal defense attorneys in Oceanside were critical of the move, pointing out that Ceccena has already spent almost 40 years behind bars for the crime, which he committed at only 17 years old.
Of course, just because the governor has this power and is willing to use it on occasion does not mean most people should worry about parole decisions being reversed. This is not only uncommon, but also something that only occurs in highly publicized cases where the governor has been lobbied by groups avidly against the release. The frequency of this occurrence also depends on the governor in charge. While Governor Brown has rarely reversed the Parole Board’s decision to release a prisoner, ex-Governor Gray Davis vetoed decisions to release inmates on a much more regular basis.
Getting the governor’s attention is also the best way to obtain a pardon as well and your Escondido defense lawyer can help you with this if all of your other options are exhausted. It’s worth noting while the governor can issue pardons for state crimes, that the president himself can also issue pardons and is actually responsible for issuing pardons involving federal crimes.
If you have any questions about how the governor could grant you or a loved one a pardon or reverse someone’s parole, please call North County defense attorney Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050.
Creative Commons Image by Phil Konstantin