Pubdate: Mon, 28 Dec 2015
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2015 Los Angeles Times
Authors: John Myers, Melanie Mason and Christine Mai-Duc


With Brown's Pardons, Ex-Felons Have Their Rights - and Peace of Mind 
- - Restored.

SACRAMENTO - Unlike his immediate predecessors, Gov. Jerry Brown has 
routinely acted to grant pardons to hundreds of men and women he 
believes have turned their lives around.

Though his Christmas Eve pardons last week included actor Robert 
Downey Jr., there were dozens more who received a holiday gift of 
being eased from the burden of a felony committed, in some cases, 
decades earlier.

They include Aaron Malloy, 38, who now lives in Los Angeles County 
and is battling Stage 4 lung cancer. When a representative of the 
governor's office called to tell him the pardon had been finalized, 
Malloy said he was in disbelief.

"It was the kind of happiness that makes you want to cry," Malloy 
told The Times on Thursday. "It was just a big sigh of relief."

"That is a great feeling, knowing that that chapter is closed."

Malloy was 16 when he was arrested for robbery, and he entered state 
prison on his 19th birthday. He served five years and seven months in 
prison and two years on parole.

"It immediately ... woke me up to the reality that I needed to really 
be focused and have goals," Malloy said. "The only way I could see 
for redeeming myself was ... through education."

After his release, Malloy enrolled in classes at a community college 
in Sacramento, and after receiving bachelor's and graduate degrees, 
he co-founded an electronics waste company.

The crimes listed in Thursday's pardon proclamations run the gamut; 
one man was pardoned for stealing $20 from a convenience store, 
another for a manslaughter conviction stemming from a traffic collision.

Thomas Danieli hit a car while attempting to pass another vehicle, 
and both the passenger in his car and the other driver were killed. 
Danieli was sentenced in 1986 and served three years' probation.

He went on to work as a probation officer for more than 25 years.

Many were pardoned for drug crimes, including Amos Hathway, who was 
convicted in 1990 of possession of marijuana for sale. For Hathway, 
now a pastor in Oregon, the news of his pardon capped an eight-year quest.

Now 45, he was convicted of possession of an eighth of an ounce of 
marijuana with intent to sell soon after his 18th birthday.

His criminal past didn't stop him from working and traveling the 
world as a pastor, but when his children started signing up for 
Little League baseball - and he had to acknowledge on the application 
that he was a convicted felon - Hathway started looking into clearing 
his record.

It was a lengthy ordeal; Hathway first applied to then-Gov. Arnold 
Schwarzenegger, then had to restart the process when Brown became 
governor. Hathway said he looked forward to enjoying the full rights 
of his citizenship, such as serving on a jury.

"I'm quite grateful. Now, in essence, I have my rights restored," Hathway said.

Hathway also wryly noted that recreational marijuana is now legal in 
his current state. He said the evolving cultural attitude about 
marijuana makes such pardons more "palatable."

Now, Hathway said he is relishing the "tremendous Christmas present" 
he got from the governor, whom he'll be thanking with a late Christmas card.

On Facebook, he wrote, "Just received a call from Governor Jerry 
Brown's office! I have been granted a pardon and am both now free in 
Christ but also have a clean record. It has been an 8 year process, 
thank you Governor Brown."

The process of gubernatorial pardons can take months, from a judge 
awarding the former felon a certificate of rehabilitation to 
subsequent detailed paperwork and the final yes-or-no decision by the governor.

Evan Westrup, a spokesman for Brown, said the governor was weighing 
the final decisions as late as Thursday morning, based solely on his 
own instincts about each individual's attempt at rehabilitation.

"It doesn't matter whether you're an actor or a pastor or whether 
you're politically connected," Westrup said.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom