Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday pardoned 19 people convicted of crimes in the state, the first time she has granted clemency during her administration.

Most of the people on the list had been convicted of nonviolent offenses — such as burglary, larceny, forgery, drug possession and conspiracy — and the crimes were all committed more than a decade ago, the Governor’s Office said in a statement.

“The power of executive clemency is an exercise in compassion,” Lujan Grisham said. “Each of us, in our own way, in our own lives, has the obligation to find forgiveness in our hearts for those individuals who have paid their debts.”

The Governor’s Office said many of those pardoned had applied for clemency and were denied during the tenures of former Govs. Susana Martinez and Bill Richardson. Martinez pardoned just three people during her tenure, while Richardson granted 74, according to a New Mexico In Depth analysis.

The New Mexico Parole Board, which investigates clemency requests and offers guidance to the governor, recommended pardons for all 19 individuals, her office said.

Among those pardoned was Faury Gonzalez, who, according to court records, was convicted of conspiring to traffic cocaine in 1997. His previous clemency requests were denied by Richardson and Martinez.

Gonzalez was released on probation in 2003.

Without a pardon, a felony record can make it difficult to find work.

Clemency also restores constitutional rights denied to felons, such as the right to vote and the right to purchase a firearm.

Lujan Grisham said in a statement her administration will continue to review applications for clemency in “a responsible, methodical, and even-handed manner.”

The Governor’s Office did not provide a list of the offenses for which the 19 individuals were pardoned. But an analysis of court records confirmed many of the offenses were nonviolent.

The New Mexican could not immediately confirm the convictions and sentences of all individuals pardoned.

Among them were the following:

  • Jennifer Dawn Mahan, who was convicted of felony forgery charges in 2000 and sentenced to two years and 11 months in jail. She was then released on supervised parole for three years.
  • Woodrow Kent Dunn Sr., who was convicted of multiple DWIs, burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary in 2004. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison and a year of parole afterward. He was discharged in 2006, according to court records.
  • Sheryl Humphreys, who was convicted of multiple felony drug charges in 2000, including possession with intent to distribute and distributing controlled substances.
  • David Bugarin, who was convicted of aggravated burglary in 1999; he was sentenced to three years in prison and five years of probation.
  • Gary Dale Verble, who was convicted of embezzlement in 1999 and served three years of probation.
  • Cesar Manuel Lopez, who was convicted of felony drug charges for possessing marijuana.

Others pardoned Friday:

  • Christine Josephine McCarty.
  • Jeffrey Clinton Holland.
  • Mary Beth Gosson.
  • Johnny Calvin Culley.
  • Paul Lopez Espinoza.
  • Raymond Pacheco.
  • Bryan Lee Cooper.
  • Melissa Michelle Washburn.
  • Jimmy Eugene Fuson.
  • Daniel Allen Chapman.
  • John Green.
  • Carlos Frank Gonzales.

Reporter

Jens Gould covers politics for the Santa Fe New Mexican. He was a correspondent for Bloomberg News in Mexico City, a regular contributor for TIME in California, and produced the video series Bravery Tapes.

(3) comments

Mary Hillis

I agree that the use of the word COMPASSION is odd and ironically very hypocritical coming from her. How about compassion for desperate business owners who have been fined? How about compassion for the 99.9% of good police officers she very obviously despises and has made clear she has no concern for? In millions of interactions between the police and the public, very few make the news.

Mike Johnson

Well said, but it is common for dictators to live in their own minds as they issue unilateral, arbitrary, and capricious statements and edicts. They are not self-aware, as they have egos as big as all outdoors.

Mike Johnson

Oh goody, now she has more cash in her bag so she can buy some new bling to impress the peasants......

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