California Supreme Court undermines public trust in secretive rejections of clemency requests

The lack of transparency in the California’s rejection of 10 of former Governor Jerry Brown’s clemency requests has riled court observers. The court stated last March they would  override not on merit but only if there was an abuse of power. But since the court seals clemency cases, it is impossible to know if the court saw abuses of power in those 10 cases. (ABA Journal, January 11, 2019, by Lorelei Laird)

The court rejected clemency for two men convicted of murder in early adulthood who have matured and otherwise taken steps towards rehabilitation. Another man is 74 and just wants to live quietly with his family in his declining years. This is the first time in 50 years that the Supreme Court has rejected a clemency request. (Sacramento Bee, December 26, 2019, by Sophia Bollag)

Radio host Peter B. Collins, San Jose Mercury News, January 4, 2019, writes, “The court should be fully transparent in all of these cases and articulate clear standards to the public and clemency petitioners.” He concludes, “It’s an insult to Brown for the court to veto his decisions without any showing of improper motive or abuse of power. And respect for the court is undermined by its secretive and arbitrary actions in these cases.”

Click here to read about FAC initiatives on the pardons.

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