12/22/2010 05:37 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Rev. Leon Kelly, Anti-Gang Activist, Pardoned By Governor Bill Ritter

Colorado Governor Bill Ritter issued 20 pardons on Wednesday. Among the pardoned was Rev. Leon Kelly, Executive Director of Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives, a Denver organization that describes its primary goal as "prevent[ing] kids from ever joining gangs."

Kelly, who pleaded guilty in 1979 to a drug-related aggravated robbery, has sought to curtail gang violence in Denver since the 1980's.

In a statement Wenesday, Ritter said the 15 men and 5 women he chose to pardon had all "demonstrated great remorse, an effort at redeeming themselves from prior criminal acts, and in some cases, significant involvement in their community."

The charges for which Ritter granted pardons on Wednesday range from marijuana possession to robbery, and span a time frame from 1971 to 1999.

Ritter said that, due to his background as a prosecutor, he was very careful in granting pardons. The Governor leaves office on January 11.


Executive Orders