Colorado Gov. Polis Grants Historic Pardons For Marijuana Convictions

COLORADO:Governor Jared Polis today signed an Executive Order granting pardons to those who have been convicted of possessing one ounce or less of marijuana. In June, Gov. Polis signed the bipartisan H.B. 20-1424, sponsored by Rep. James Coleman, Sen. Julie Gonzales and Sen. Vicki Marble, including an amendment sponsored by Sen. Gonzales, which authorizes the Governor to grant pardons to a class of defendants who were convicted of the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana. Reps. Leslie Herod and Jonathan Singer were also champions of passing this legislation. The new law went into effect this month.

“We are finally cleaning up some of the inequities of the past by pardoning 2,732 convictions for Coloradans who simply had an ounce of marijuana or less. It’s ridiculous how being written up for smoking a joint in the 1970’s has followed some Coloradans throughout their lives and gotten in the way of their success,” said Governor Jared Polis. “Too many Coloradans have been followed their entire lives by a conviction for something that is no longer a crime, and these convictions have impacted their job status, housing, and countless other areas of their lives. Today we are taking this step toward creating a more just system and breaking down barriers to help transform people’s lives as well as coming to terms with one aspect of the past, failed policy of marijuana prohibition.”

This pardon applies to state-level convictions of possession for one ounce or less of marijuana, as identified by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI).  Under H.B. 20-1424, the Governor is granting pardons for a class of people with convictions for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana. The individuals who have these convictions did not need to apply for pardons, and the Governor’s Office has not conducted individual assessments of the people who have been pardoned through this process. Individuals convicted of municipal marijuana crimes, or individuals arrested or issued a summons without a conviction, are not included in the pardons.

Individuals who are unsure whether a conviction on their record has been pardoned may fill out a form to request confirmation of a pardon on the Colorado Bureau of Investigations website. To obtain their entire criminal history, people can visit CBIRecordsCheck.com. Once a conviction is pardoned, it will not appear on a criminal history obtained on the records check website.

For further questions visit the FAQ document.

Visit COMarijuanaPardons.com for more information.

Spokane To Allow Removal Of Marijuana Records

WASHINGTON: People who have been convicted of misdemeanor possession of marijuana in Spokane will soon be able to have the conviction removed from their criminal record.

The Spokane City Council voted 6-0 on Monday to allow those convictions to be vacated.

The Spokesman-Review says the convictions won’t go away automatically.

City Council President Ben Stuckart says he expects that by early next year people will be able to fill out a form with Spokane’s Municipal Court to vacate the convictions.

CA Gov. Jerry Brown Signs Bill To Allow Those Who Completed Court Ordered Diversion Programs to Clean Up Records

CALIFORNIA: California Gov. Jerry Brown acted on two life-changing companion bills, approving one, but vetoing the other. Brown signed A.B. 1352 which allows those who have completed court ordered drug diversion since 1997 to file with the court to convert their plea to a “not guilty.”  Before 1997, there was a pre-plea diversion option in California.  The relief applies only to those who have completed diversion, which has already resulted in clearing the arrest and conviction from their record. The change is urgently needed, because the guilty plea triggers federal consequences, including deportation for non-citizens, or loss of housing and educational grants for citizens. These cruel consequences exist even for very old cases against legal immigrants or parents or spouses of US citizens.

The prospective companion bill, A.B. 1351 vetoed by Gov. Brown, would have allowed judges the discretion to order diversion to drug treatment or education without the precondition of a guilty plea. California currently lacks a pre-plea option, and the admission of guilt is considered a conviction for federal immigration purposes. The consequences can be immediate and devastating, including deportation, mandatory detention, and permanent separation of families.

The bills were authored by Stockton Democrat Susan Talamantes-Eggman and were considered priorities by the California Legislative Latino Caucus and several immigrant and human rights groups, working in conjunction with drug policy and criminal justice reformers.

Obama Frees Dozens Of Nonviolent Federal Inmates

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: President Barack Obama announced Monday that he has granted dozens of federal inmates their freedom, as part of an effort to counteract draconian penalties handed out to nonviolent drug offenders in the past.

The 46 inmates who had their sentences reduced represent a small fraction of the tens of thousands of inmates who have applied. The U.S. Justice Department prioritizes applications from inmates who are nonviolent, low-level offenders, have already served at least a decade in prison, and would have received a substantially lower sentence if convicted today, among other factors.

“I am granting your application because you have demonstrated the potential to turn your life around,” Obama wrote in a letter to the inmates. “Now it is up to you to make the most of this opportunity. It will not be easy, and you will confront many who doubt people with criminal records can change. Perhaps even you are unsure of how you will adjust to your new circumstances.”

Obama Commutes Sentences For 22 Drug Offenders, Including Eight Serving Life

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: President Obama commuted sentences on Tuesday for 22 drug offenders, including eight serving life sentences, doubling the total number of commutations issued during his time in office. Calling their sentences the product of an “outdated” system, the White House acknowledged that defendants convicted of the same crimes under current law would likely face far lighter punishment.

From the Huffington Post:

Tuesday’s announcement marks the beginning of a more aggressive approach on clemency from the White House, which has faced persistent criticism for being slow to grant pardons and commutations. Until Tuesday, Obama had only commuted the sentences of 21 people and pardoned 64, out of thousands of applications received.

The Justice Department expanded its criteria for clemency applicants last year, prioritizing defendants who would have likely been given a shorter prison term had they been sentenced today and who have served at least 10 years behind bars, have had good conduct in prison, have no significant ties to criminal enterprises and have no history of violence or significant criminal history.

Arkansas Governor Plans To Pardon Son For 2003 Marijuana Conviction

ARKANSAS:  Outgoing Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe plans to pardon his own son for a 2003 felony conviction for marijuana possession.

Matt DeCample, a spokesman for the Democratic governor, told the Associated Press that the pardon would be among a set issued by Beebe next month.

Kyle Beebe, now 34, served three years of supervised probation, paid $1,150 in fines and court costs, and had his driver’s license suspended. At the time of his son’s arrest, the elder Beebe was a few months into a four-year term as the state’s Attorney General.

The governor told KATV Wednesday that he would have pardoned his son earlier, but “he took his sweet time about asking.”

 

City Attorney Holmes To Seek Dismissal Of All Pot-Use Tickets

WASHINGTON: Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, reacting to one police officer’s personal campaign to write citations for public marijuana use, will announce Monday that he will seek dismissal of more than 85 tickets issued during the first seven months of the year, according to two City Hall sources.

Holmes, who is set to discuss the decision at a briefing of the City Council on Monday morning, will go beyond Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole’s request to dismiss tickets written by bicycle Officer Randy Jokela and include all infractions, out of fairness to everyone who was cited, according to the sources and briefing materials provided to The Seattle Times.

Jokela, who issued about 80 percent of the $27 tickets for public pot use during the first half of the year, wrote on many of them “*Attn: Petey Holmes*.”