Outgoing Calif. Governor Issues 274 Grants of Clemency as Farewell Gift

On Christmas Eve, 2018, as California Governor Jerry Brown neared the end of his term, he left some citizens a parting gift: 143 pardons and 131 commutations.

The San Jose Mercury News noted that 16 of the pardons were given to people convicted of crimes in the San Francisco Bay Area. The paper also listed the names, crimes and sentences for the 14 others from the Bay Area who received commutations.

All those from the Bay Area who had their sentences commuted had been convicted of some type of homicide. Most were facing life sentences without the possibility of parole. They now qualify to have a parole hearing after serving a certain number of years in prison.


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  • Anthony Guzman, now 60, was serving life without parole after he shot and killed a man he was robbing in 1980. His sentence was changed to allow him to have a chance of parole after serving 38 years.


  • Others who had their life-without-parole sentences changed include Jeffrey Douglas Hall, who, at 18, fatally stabbed another teenager; Tim Nguyen, who shot and killed a jeweler during an attempted robbery; Earl Griffin, who was present when a drug dealer he and an accomplice were robbing was killed; and Robert Staedel, who, at 18, fatally shot a man he was trying to rob.


  • Those who had their indeterminate sentences reduced include Manuel Cuevas, who shot and killed the cousin who impregnated Cuevas’ wife. His sentence was changed from 25 years to life to 15 years to life. Timothy Galvan shot and killed a man in 2002 in rival gang territory. His sentence was reduced from 77 years to life to 20 years to life.


  • Adnan Khan had his sentence reduced from 25 years to life to 15 years to life. Khan was 18 when an acquaintance fatally stabbed a man whom they intended to steal marijuana from.


  • Janine Chandler, who was sentenced to 50 years to life after fatally shooting her abusive husband’s girlfriend in 2002 (whom he brought to their home), had her sentence changed to 17 years to life.


No one was given immediate release despite the large number of commutations and the lowering of parole-eligibility dates does not necessarily mean that anyone will be released sooner. What it does provide for these 131 commutation recipients is hope.


California Pardon and Sentence Commutation Lawyers


Contact the Law Offices of Brandon Sample if you believe you may qualify for relief from a California conviction. Our California clemency attorneys are ready and able to assist you with all of your pardon and sentence commutation needs.

About Brandon Sample

Brandon Sample is an attorney, author, and criminal justice reform activist. Brandon’s law practice is focused on federal criminal defense, federal appeals, federal post-conviction relief, federal civil rights litigation, federal administrative law, and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

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