California Gov. Newsom pardons Sara Kruzan sentenced for killing her pimp as a teen

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov Gavin Newsom on Friday pardoned an ex-prisoner who was sentenced to life in prison as a teenager for killing her former pimp.

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It’s the latest step in a formal takeover that has spanned more than a decade and three governors of both political parties.

Hers was among nearly three dozen such pardons and pardons Friday that also affected older and younger offenders. Among them was 82-year-old Henry Pachnowski, who was born to Polish parents who were later imprisoned in Nazi labor camps during World War II.

Sara Kruzan was 16 when she killed George Gilbert Howard in a Riverside motel room. She was 17 when she was sentenced to death in prison for killing the man she said sexually abused and trafficked her for sex starting when she was 13.

He faced 18 years in prison until Newsom’s predecessor, then-Gov. Jerry Brown allowed it to be released in 2013.

Brown’s predecessor, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had her sentence commuted to life with the possibility of parole shortly before he left office in early 2011.

By then Cruzan had become something of a talking point for state lawmakers and reform groups seeking to commute harsh life sentences for those who committed their crimes as juveniles.

Leland Yee, a Democratic senator who later went to prison for corruption, called her case at the time “a perfect example of adults who failed her, of society failing her. You had a predator who stalked her, raped her, forced her into prostitution, and there was no one around.”

Newsom said in his apology that Cruzan has since shown that she is “living an upright life.”

Since the murder, she said she has “transformed her life and dedicated herself to community service.” The pardon, Newsom said, does not minimize her crime or the damage she caused, but “recognizes the work she has done since then to transform herself.”

Kruzan’s was among 17 pardons announced Friday.

A pardon does not overturn or erase a conviction, the governor’s office said, but it can help ease the lingering impact on the recipient’s life. For example, three others he pardoned face possible deportation based on their criminal records, including one who has already been deported.

Newsom also commuted the sentences of 15 current inmates and granted a reprieve to one high-risk medical inmate.

The conversions give inmates the opportunity to appear before a parole board that will decide if they are eligible for parole.

One of the conversions, inmate Darnell Greene, was recommended by the state’s corrections secretary based on his outstanding behavior in prison after he was originally convicted of a 1997 armed robbery in which no one was injured.

Two others whose sentences were commuted worked as inmate firefighters.

Newsom commuted the sentences of one inmate who was arrested at age 15 and another who is now 78.

Newsom pardoned Pachnowski, 82, who now lives in Maryland. He pleaded guilty in 1967 in Orange County to a misdemeanor charge of soliciting an obscene act and was sentenced to 10 days in jail and three years of probation.

In his plea for clemency, Pachnowski said he was having consensual “intimacy” with another man in a car in a deserted industrial area when they were arrested by a security guard who “said we had gone against God and nature”. He said he pleaded guilty to avoid prosecution for a more serious charge of “sexual perversion”.

“A pardon would not only recognize and redress the injustice I have suffered from being targeted and convicted because of my sexuality, but would also ensure that I do not face future barriers, such as employment and housing, arising from this conviction . “, he said in the application.

In his pardon, the governor said Pachnowski was convicted and sentenced for a charge that was used “to punish men who engage in consensual adult sexual conduct with other men by criminalizing them based on stigma, prejudice and ignorance.”

“By this act of executive clemency, I acknowledge the inherent injustice of the sentence,” he wrote.

Newsom has now granted 129 pardons, 123 commutations and 35 suspensions.

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California Gov. Newsom pardons Sara Kruzan sentenced for killing her pimp as a teen Source link California Gov. Newsom pardons Sara Kruzan sentenced for killing her pimp as a teen

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