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California Gov. Jerry Brown denies parole for 71 murderers

February 7, 2012 |  5:11 pm
Jerry Brown denied parole for 71 murderers.

California Gov. Jerry Brown pardoned 21 people in his first year in office and rejected parole for 71 first- and second-degree murderers who had been recommended for release by the parole board.

Brown did allow for the early release of just one person, Tung Nguyen of Garden Grove, who was convicted of first-degree murder for his role in a motel-room killing in a dispute over money. Nguyen served as a lookout and did not know that his friend had stabbed the victim in the leg, according to a report from Brown's office. The stab wound punctured the victim’s femoral artery, and he bled to death.

Nguyen was just 16  at the time.

On Nov. 3, 2010, the Board of Parole recommended Nguyen be offered parole because of his remorse, rehabilitation and “stable social history.”

Unlike the 71 other such recommendations rejected by Brown, the governor approved Nguyen’s parole, based in part on his role in helping 50 civilians to safety who were on the prison yard during a 2006 inmate riot.

“In this unique case,” Brown wrote, “I believe Mr. Nguyen’s exceptional rehabilitation dictates that he should receive an immediate release on parole.”

Of the 21 pardons granted by Brown, most were for drug offenses and all for convicted felons who had completed their sentences. Brown spokesman Evan Westrup said all of those granted pardons had received court-issued certificates of rehabilitation indicating they had been in recovery for at least 10 years.

Brown submitted the comprehensive list of pardons and parole decisions to the Legislature in an annual report required by law. You can read the reports here.


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-- Anthony York in Sacramento

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown. Credit: Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times