California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday pardoned five people who already served their time and commuted the sentences of 21 state prison inmates, including more than a dozen convicted of murder or related crimes. The victims were children in two of the cases and a pregnant woman in a third.
The clemency requests were being considered before the coronavirus crisis, “and, as resources permitted, the governor decided to move forward with them,” spokeswoman Vicky Waters said in an email.
Attorneys representing inmates this week asked federal judges to free thousands of inmates to help prisons better confront the pandemic, which has sickened one inmate and 12 employees. Newsom said mass inmate releases would further burden strained community health care systems and homelessness programs. But he stopped transfers into the system for 30 days.