Jerry Brown Pardons 5 Ex-Convicts Facing Deportation, Provoking Trump

Jerry Brown Pardons 5 Ex-Convicts Facing Deportation, Provoking Trump

Gov. Jerry Brown of California on Friday pardoned five ex-convicts facing possible deportation, drawing criticism from President Trump and heightening continued tensions between Washington and California.

The five immigrants were among 56 pardons and 14 commutations Mr. Brown granted on Friday — Good Friday and the start of Passover — to those who have been out of custody for at least 10 years and have exhibited “exemplary behavior” after their convictions, the governor’s press office said.

They included a United States military veteran, Sokha Chhan, a refugee from Cambodia who served nearly a year in jail for the misdemeanors of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant and threatening a crime with the intent to terrorize. Phann Pheach, another Cambodian refugee who was pardoned, served six months for possession of a controlled substance for sale and obstructing a police officer.

Mr. Brown also granted pardons to Daniel Maher, who spent five years in prison after being convicted of kidnapping, robbery and using a firearm, and who is now the director of a recycling program in Berkeley, Calif.; Sergio Mena, who was sentenced in 2003 and put on probation for three years for possession of a controlled substance for sale; and Francisco Acevedo Alaniz, who served five months for vehicle theft.

On Saturday morning Mr. Trump tweeted a list of crimes that he linked to the five who were pardoned and asked, “Is this really what the great people of California want?”

It was the latest discord between Mr. Trump and leaders in California, where lawmakers have been actively seeking to disrupt Mr. Trump’s policies — not only by passing immigration laws that run counter to the administration’s agenda, but also by expanding environmental protections, raising gasoline taxes to pay for highway construction, and resisting moves to weaken rules for greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for automobiles.

“We will definitely not sit by idly as the Trump administration tries to deport immigrants, throw people off health care, ignore climate changeand steal our water,” State Senator Scott Wiener, a Democrat, said in January. “It’s about playing defense to whatever the administration throws at us — but also offense in terms of continuing California’s push for progressive social change.”

On Friday, the same day Mr. Brown announced the pardons, Mr. Trump declared April “Second Chance Month,” highlighting the need for ex-convicts to get an opportunity to become contributing members of society.

“I am committed to advancing reform efforts to prevent crime, improve re-entry and reduce recidivism,” Mr. Trump said in a news release.