California Supreme Court just stopped Jerry Brown from doing this

via redstateobserver Originally posted @ 

The California Supreme Court has rejected orders for three of Governor Jerry Brown’s clemency cases involving violent offenders.

Nine of the ten commutations that have been rejected were for people that were convicted of homicide.

Mercury News reported that the rejections mark the first time the court has blocked a governor’s clemency requests in at least half a century, according to the state’s Judicial Council. The court reviews clemency actions for inmates who have been convicted of more than one felony.

On Monday, just hours before the expected release of Brown’s annual Christmas Eve clemency actions, the court announced that it rejected Brown’s attempt to commute the sentence of Kenny Lee, who robbed and murdered a cab driver in 1992.

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The California Supreme Court this week rejected three more of Gov. Jerry Brown’s recommendations to commute sentences of longtime prison inmates who he believed had reformed behind bars, including a Sacramento man who beat a man to death in 1997.

The court in recent weeks now has denied 10 of Brown’s clemency actions, the first time it has exercised that power in half a century.

The latest denials followed Brown’s annual Christmas Eve clemency actions that included 143 pardons and 131 commutations. Nine of the 10 inmates whose commutations were rejected had been convicted of participating in homicides.

Brown’s clemency actions are part of his effort to rethink prison sentencing in his second run as California governor. He has sought to provide more opportunities for parole, aiming to give inmates incentives to improve themselves while in custody. He has also handed down more pardons and commutations than any other California governor.

Jameel Coles, 40, of Sacramento took every opportunity he could to gain education and to mentor other inmates since he was sentenced to life in prison 20 years ago for his role in slaying a Merced County man who had agreed to give him a ride, according to Brown’s Legal Affairs Office.

Cole participated in self-health groups, enrolled in college courses, and expressed regret for his actions.

“Hurt people, hurt people,” he wrote when he applied for clemency. He told the Governor’s Office that “shame and guilt lead to a cycle of hyper-masculine choices,’ which was “compounded due to the fact that this hyper masculinity was shaped by a false image of manhood, which glorified a criminal lifestyle and misogyny.”

He worked as a chaplain clerk for more than six years, excelled in slam poetry competitions and secured two associate of arts degrees, one in social and behavioral science, Legal Affairs Secretary Peter Krause wrote.

The Supreme Court did not explain its decision to deny Coles’ commutation. The Board of Parole Hearings referred Coles’ clemency application to the governor with a favorable recommendation.

California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye signed the rejection. Justice Goodwin Liu voted in favor of the recommendation, according to the court.

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