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Governor announces her first pardons

SANTA FE, N.M. — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Friday the first pardons of her administration, marking the first time in eight years a New Mexico governor has invoked the power of executive clemency.

There were 19 people forgiven for state court convictions, the governor’s office announced in a news release. The majority of them were for non-violent offenses such as forgery, drug possession, burglary, larceny, issuing a worthless check and conspiracy.

Lujan Grisham’s predecessor, Gov. Susana Martinez, issued three pardons during her eight-year term, Associated Press reported.

All offenses were at least a decade old, according to the news release.

“The power of executive clemency is an exercise in compassion,” Lujan Grisham said in a prepared statement. “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, who have expressed genuine contrition and made sincere and forthright amends for their offenses. The governor’s power of executive clemency is an avenue for that exercise available to me, and I am humbled by the opportunity to deliver it. My administration will continue to evaluate all applicants in a responsible, methodical and even-handed manner.”

Pardons are filed with the Secretary of State’s Office. The documents show that men and women from various judicial districts throughout the state were issued pardons. Seven of the 19 cases were from the 5th Judicial District in southeast New Mexico.

A year ago, Lujan Grisham’s office issued guidelines outlining how pardons and other forms of clemency would be evaluated.

Those guidelines included whether the applicant has demonstrated personal growth, shown remorse and participated in restorative justice – an effort to repair harm to crime victims or society.

The majority of those who were provided clemency on Friday had also applied under Martinez and Gov. Bill Richardson, according to the governor’s office.

Faury Gonzales, 59, and Jeffrey Holland, 50, for example, were pardoned for convictions that happened in Bernalillo County. Gonzales was convicted of conspiracy to commit drug offenses in 1996, and Holland was convicted of larceny and two counts of conspiracy to commit larceny in 2000.

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