Governor Signs Bonta’s AB 2845 to Improve Accessibility and Transparency in the Pardon and Commutation Process

Friday, September 28, 2018

(Sacramento, CA) – Governor Jerry Brown has signed AB 2845, which improves accessibility and transparency in the pardon and commutation process.

AB 2845, authored by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), establishes a one-year timeline for the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) to issue recommendations on pardon applications, and requires the BPH to notify applicants when they receive their pardon or commutation application and when they have issued a recommendation. The new law also requires the BPH to consider expediting their review of urgent pardon applications, such as when an applicant is facing deportation. 

“Although those convicted of crimes may spend years rehabilitating themselves into productive law-abiding residents, formerly incarcerated immigrants face the risk of being sent back to countries where they often have few if any ties,” said Bonta. “With the sharp increase in immigration arrests and deportations under the Trump Administration, especially targeting immigrants with old convictions who have since been rehabilitated, obtaining a pardon can be an effective avenue against a deportation.”

AB 2845 also makes applications for a Certificate of Rehabilitation, which is a court order declaring that a person convicted of a crime is rehabilitated, available on county court websites and pardon and commutation applications available on the Governor’s website. This bill clarifies that individuals are eligible for a commutation, pardon, or a Certificate of Rehabilitation regardless of immigration status.

“AB 2845 creates more opportunities to remove barriers to reintegration and marks another important step in the process of reforming our punitive and inhumane criminal justice system,” said Angela Chan, Policy Director at Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus. “As the Trump Administration has been unleashing waves of raids on Southeast Asian refugee communities, pardons offer one of the only remedies to stop deportations in many of these cases.”

“The Governor has continued his exemplary record on pardons and built on his legacy by ensuring future Governors will be responsive and transparent with Californians seeking pardons and commutations,” said Bonta.

Assemblymember Rob Bonta represents the 18th Assembly District, which includes Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro and is the Assistant Majority Leader and Chair of the Asian Pacific Islander (API) Legislative Caucus.