A denial of a clemency request in CA amounts to a finding of abuse of power

Timothy Kowal, Esq.
November 21, 2022

Clemency requests in California must be approved by the Supreme Court, and they are not always approved. Denials of clemency requests, says David Ettinger, are “essentially court determinations that the clemency grants would have been abuses of gubernatorial powers.”

In one particular case back in 2019 concerning Joe Hernandez, a majority of the Supreme Court, without specifying a reason, declined to recommend the commutation.” Ettinger notes that then-Gov. Brown fumed, “Read the ones who were approved and read the ones who were disapproved and you tell me what the rule is.”

Gov. Newsom, on the other hand, has a nearly perfect record on his clemency recommendation requests. Why the change?

Watch the clip here.

This is a clip from episode 53 of the California Appellate Law Podcast. Listen to the full episode here.

Tim Kowal helps trial attorneys and clients win their cases and avoid error on appeal. He co-hosts the Cal. Appellate Law Podcast at www.CALPodcast.com, and publishes a newsletter of appellate tips for trial attorneys at www.tvalaw.com/articles. His appellate practice covers all of California's appellate districts and throughout the Ninth Circuit, with appellate attorneys in offices in Orange County and Monterey County. Contact Tim at tkowal@tvalaw.com or (714) 641-1232.