Gov. Jerry Brown is handing out 127 Christmas Eve pardons.
The announcement continues a major departure from other recent California governors. Brown has now granted 341 pardons. That’s the most since – actually, since Brown’s first stint as governor, when he handed out more than 400. Combined, California’s last three governors granted less than 30 pardons total.
As has been the case in previous years, the vast majority of the people Brown pardoned Tuesday had been convicted of nonviolent, drug-related crimes.
The California Report recently took a look at Brown’s liberal use of pardon power:
Pardons are mostly symbolic and don’t expunge a record, though they do restore some rights that felons had lost, including the right to own a firearm. Still, recent governors have avoided pardons. Schwarzenegger only handed out 16. Republican Pete Wilson granted 13. And Democrat Gray Davis didn’t grant a single pardon.
That makes Brown look like a very aggressive pardoner. But Brown’s spokesman [Evan] Westrup argued it was the other governors who were out of step with the typical pardon rate. “Now the Wilson, Schwarzenegger and Davis administration certainly veered away from that history,” he said. “But if you look back at Ronald Reagan, of all people — Gov. Reagan pardoned nearly 600 people. Deukmejian, over 300.”