Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham invoked her clemency powers Friday by granting pardons to 19 individuals, largely for offenses at least a decade old, according to a statement released by her office.
Many of the crimes center on drugs – possession, trafficking and distribution. The forgiven offenses also include embezzlement, fraud and shoplifting.
But some convictions involve such violent crimes as battery, shooting at a dwelling and domestic violence, according to a list released by a spokeswoman for the governor.
Under guidelines issued by Lujan Grisham’s office, applications for clemency are evaluated based on whether the applicant has demonstrated personal growth, shown remorse and participated in restorative justice, or efforts to repair harm to crime victims and society.
Applications are reviewed by the Parole Board, which makes recommendations to Lujan Grisham.
The 19 pardons announced Friday represent the latest round of pardons issued by Lujan Grisham, bringing the total to 50. She had previously issued 12 pardons in January and 19 pardons last year.
Her predecessor, Republican Susana Martinez, granted just three pardons during her eight years in office.
Lujan Grisham last year called the power of executive clemency “an exercise in compassion.”
In a written statement, she said in June 2020 that forgiveness is warranted “for those individuals who have paid their debts, who have expressed genuine contrition, and made sincere and forthright amends for their offenses.”
The New Mexico Constitution gives the governor power to grant reprieves and pardons, but the authority is limited to offenses under state law, not municipal ordinances or federal law.
Pardoning doesn’t expunge arrest or conviction records. Instead, the pardon is listed along with the original conviction.
But a pardon can restore certain rights, such as the ability to vote or hold public office.