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Newport Beach man pardoned for crimes, praised for charity work

December 29, 2012 |  5:07 pm

A Newport Beach man who was sent to prison on drug and robbery convictions in the 1970s and '80s has been pardoned for his crimes by Gov. Jerry Brown, who praised the man for his philanthropic work in environmental and education causes.

Thomas George Pfleger, 61, received a pardon for three previous convictions in 1970, 1976 and 1983 for drug-related offenses and second-degree robbery.

"He is ecstatic, and feels it was a great Christmas present," said Pfleger's attorney, Allan Stokke. "The pardon illustrates the forgiveness part of the Christmas message."

In clearing Pfleger's record, the governor cited philanthropic endeavors, saying Pfleger contributed to child welfare, substance abuse recovery, medical research and wildlife preservation.

Pfleger is one of 79 people the governor pardoned statewide before Christmas. Brown praised Pfleger, calling him an example of someone who turned his life around in dramatic ways.

Pfleger helped found the George T. Pfleger Foundation, which in 1998 established the Pfleger Institute of Environmental Research. The institute is devoted to marine research and education.

"Tom is very thankful for Gov. Brown's decision and will continue his charity activities," Stokke said. "He is especially fond of children's charities and any organization which has focus on substance-abuse rehabilitation."

  Ex-convicts can apply for a pardon after 10 years of being on parole or probation if they have demonstrated exemplary behavior after being convicted.

The California Board of Parole Hearings and a majority of the justices of the California Supreme Court recommended Pfleger for the pardon.


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-- Lauren Williams, TCN

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown, left, heads to a news conference in the Capitol. Credit: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times.