California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has granted pardons to 63 individuals, many of whom had been convicted of minor drug offenses.
Brown's office announced the pardons in a Friday statement.
"The individuals granted pardons all completed their sentences and have been released from custody for more than a decade without further criminal activity," the statement read.
More than 40 of the pardoned individuals had been convicted on charges of possessing, selling or manufacturing controlled substances, including marijuana. Some of them are now active in public service, serving as drug counselors or supporting nonprofits.
Clark William Guest, who served 60 days in jail and 5 years of probation after stealing from his landlord to support his methamphetamine habit, was among those pardoned. As Brown's pardon notes, Guest is now the coordinator of the drug rehabilitation program he participated in following his conviction.
"I've been waiting 14 years for this call ... this just blows me away," Guest told the Los Angeles Times. "Good people make mistakes, and we're allowed to make U turns."
In each notice, Brown wrote that the pardoned individuals had "lived an honest and upright life, exhibited good moral character and conducted [themselves] as law-abiding citizen[s]." While a pardon does not expunge a conviction from the individual's record, it does restore certain rights, such as serving on a jury.
As the Sacramento Bee notes, Brown's announcement came on Good Friday, which is consistent with the Catholic governor's past pattern of timing pardons with the Christian holidays. Previously, the governor has granted pardons around Christmas and Easter. Last Christmas, Brown announced 127 pardons, including 93 of drug-related convictions.
While Brown has granted hundreds of pardons since entering office in 2011, his predecessors were far less inclined to do so. According to the Los Angeles Times, Govs. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gray Davis and Pete Wilson granted a total of 29 pardons over a 20 year period.
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