You are here
Home > News > California Gov. Gavin Newsom Pardons 10, Some Cannabis Convictions

California Gov. Gavin Newsom Pardons 10, Some Cannabis Convictions

California Gov. Gavin Newsom granted 10 pardons, including two for marijuana-related charges. Some of the charges can be decades old and another date back to 1973. This list includes some examples of how people have made their lives better since they were convicted.

The governor recognized some of the systems in place that are “counterproductive” to public safety when you look at the big picture. Convictions can haunt a person’s life, leading to deportation, permanent family separation, or other consequences.

“The California Constitution gives the Governor the authority to grant pardons,” Gov. Newsom’s announcement reads. “The Governor regards clemency as an important part of the criminal justice system that can incentivize accountability and rehabilitation and increase public safety by removing counterproductive barriers to successful reentry. Pardons can also be granted to remove any unjustified collateral consequences, like deportation or permanent separation from the family.

Pardons don’t forgive crime or diminish its consequences. Instead, these pardons recognize the pardon grantees’ self-development and rehabilitation since then.”

The governor made the remarks in the announcement where he noted that victims of crime were considered when making decisions. “The Governor’s Office encourages victims, survivors and witnesses to register with CDCR’s Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services to receive information about an incarcerated person’s status. You can also find general information on victim services at the office.

Information about how people made positive changes is included in the pardons. Some individuals on the list were even able to go into counseling or substance abuse. Here are the 10 people who were pardoned by the governor.

  • John Berger was sentenced for transporting controlled substances in 1995. Berger is now a supporter of others in sobriety.
  • Lucas Beltran Dominguez was sentenced to eight years in prison for selling or transporting cannabis. He also had possession of marijuana for sale. Dominguez has seven children, and is a member of his church.
  • Michael Farrier was sentenced to prison in 1990 for second-degree robbery and first degree burglary.
  • Kimberly Gregorio was sentenced to 1988 for possessing a controlled drug for sale and obstructing a police officer.
  • James King III was sentenced for selling cocaine in 1988. 
  • Santiago Lopez was sentenced to prison in 2000 and 2004 for possessing cannabis for the sale. In 2001, he was also convicted of possession of controlled substances for sale. Lopez now serves as the church’s facility manager and peer counselor.
  • Kenneth Lyerly was sentenced for possessing a controlled drug for sale in 2004
  • Jimmy Platon was sentenced for trespassing in 1973 and for possessing a controlled substance to sell in 1978.
  • Julie Ruehle received a 1999 sentence for her involvement in two cases: one regarding possession of controlled substances and another for operating a motor vehicle without permission.
  • Kathy Uetz was sentenced for possessing a controlled drug in 1991 and for selling controlled substances in 1997. Uetz spent over 5,000 hours volunteering with the community’s emergency response team.

To date, Gov. Newsom granted 140 pardons and 123 commutations while in office, as well as 35 reprieves.

Similar efforts are being made by the governor’s office. Gov. Newsom also signed a bill into law in September 2022 that will create the option for an alternate plea to individuals facing certain drug convictions. The “Alternate Plea Act” enables prosecutors to offer some defendants who have been charged with drug-related offenses a public nuisance plea. This law will allow prosecutors to give the public nuisance plea at any time.