Dozens of Texans submit requests for executive clemency every year. Last year there were 92 applications. In the last two weeks of 2018, according to a report in the Dallas News, Gov. Greg Abbott granted pardons to six individuals who had been convicted for minor offenses.
A full pardon restores certain rights that people with records of convictions may have lost, including the right to vote and hold public office. The following individuals received executive pardons from the governor:
- Reginald Charles DeCuire, 53, who was sentenced to five days in jail for a 1983 theft.
- Joseph Clinton Blackwell, 39, who was sentenced to 15 days in jail for a 1996 vehicle burglary.
- Javier Rojas, 39, who was sentenced to six years of probation for possession of marijuana in 1997.
- Raymond Eldon Lindhold, 46, who was sentenced to five years of probation for marijuana possession in 1997.
- Pamela Hawon Wren, 46, who was sentenced to six months of probation for a theft of less than $750 in 1999.
- Ruth Anne Griffith, 22, who was sentenced to 100 days in jail for a 2014 assault causing bodily injury.
The governor, as chief executive, has the power to issue pardons for any crime except treason and impeachment. Only rarely has anyone in Texas with a felony conviction or who has committed a violent crime been granted clemency.
It is the task of the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole to review each request for clemency and make recommendations to the governor, who may approve or deny each.
Considering the most egregious crime pardoned by the governor this year was an assault so minor that the punishment was a mere three months in jail, the bar set by the governor is pretty high.
In 2016, there were 93 requests for clemency in the state, according to the board’s annual report. The board recommended 29 for clemency and Abbott granted full pardons to five. In 2017, out of 92 requests, the board recommended 16 and Abbott pardoned seven.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the board has not recommended clemency during Abbott’s term for anyone convicted of a capital crime. Between 2015 and 2018, Gov. Abbott issued pardons for a total of 22 people. Abbott’s four year totals don’t even come close to former Gov. Rick Scott’s total for the single year of 2003, when he pardoned 35 people.
The federal government can be just as fickle as state governments in granting clemencies, which are highly dependent on political winds. But if you feel you have reasons to be granted relief from your sentence, contact the Law Offices of Brandon Sample. We have considerable experience in the federal clemency process.