Over 8 years, Martinez has been picky with par­dons

Gov­er­nor granted three in 2012, has de­nied at least 72 ap­pli­ca­tions in of­fice

Santa Fe New Mexican - - LOCAL & REGION - By Mor­gan Lee

With less than a month left in of­fice, termed-out Re­pub­li­can Gov. Su­sana Martinez has par­doned just three peo­ple in New Mex­ico, a state with a ro­bust his­tory of for­give­ness by gov­er­nors.

The Gov­er­nor’s Of­fice con­firmed that Martinez is­sued three par­dons in 2012 and no oth­ers. She did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment on her ap­proach to par­don ap­pli­ca­tions.

A for­mer dis­trict at­tor­ney and pro­po­nent of re­in­sti­tut­ing the death penalty in New Mex­ico, Martinez has added re­stric­tions on par­dons that rule out peo­ple con­victed of sex­ual of­fenses and mul­ti­ple drunk­endriv­ing vi­o­la­tions.

The Gov­er­nor’s Of­fice in­di­cated it nei­ther keeps a list of par­don ap­pli­cants and de­nials nor tracks over­all num­bers. It did not im­me­di­ately pro­vide ac­cess to par­don ap­pli­ca­tions.

Martinez has de­nied at least 72 par­don ap­pli­ca­tions, in­clud­ing 13 cases in which the New Mex­ico Pa­role Board rec­om­mended ap­proval, ac­cord­ing to records pro­vided by the board Fri­day.

Martinez’s two im­me­di­ate pre­de­ces­sors each par­doned scores of peo­ple for a va­ri­ety of con­vic­tions.

Demo­cratic Gov. Bill Richard­son fa­mously dab­bled with and even­tu­ally de­nied a re­quest to posthu­mously par­don the 19th-cen­tury out­law known as Billy the Kid in the killing of a sher­iff. Richard­son did com­mute the life sen­tence of a woman who killed her al­legedly abu­sive hus­band.

For­mer Re­pub­li­can Gov. Gary John­son, an early pro­po­nent of le­gal­iz­ing

mar­i­juana who later ran for pres­i­dent as a Lib­er­tar­ian, com­muted a sen­tence in 2002 for a woman who was con­victed of steal­ing a small amount of money ap­par­ently be­cause of ad­dic­tion.

She was sex­u­ally as­saulted by prison guards, and John­son ex­pressed out­rage that the guards re­ceived lesser sen­tences than she had for her non­vi­o­lent crime.

In New Mex­ico, the power to par­don re­sides solely with the gov­er­nor. A par­don re­stores rights such as the abil­ity to vote and run for pub­lic of­fice. It does not ex­punge pub­lic records.

The Restora­tion of Rights Project cur­rently lists New Mex­ico among states where par­dons are in­fre­quent or un­even, along­side Louisiana, New York and Hawaii.

Demo­cratic Gov.-elect Michelle Lu­jan Gr­isham takes of­fice Jan. 1 after de­feat­ing Re­pub­li­can U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce.

In 1986, Demo­cratic Gov. Toney Anaya com­muted the death sen­tences of five men await­ing ex­e­cu­tion in a move to thwart his Re­pub­li­can suc­ces­sor.

The gov­er­nor-elect at the time, Gar­rey Car­ruthers, had promised to quicken the pace of the ex­e­cu­tions.

New Mex­ico re­pealed and re­placed cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment in 2009 with manda­tory life­time sen­tenc­ing.

MOR­GAN LEE/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Gov. Su­sana Martinez has de­nied at least 72 par­don ap­pli­ca­tions, in­clud­ing 13 cases in which the state Pa­role Board rec­om­mended ap­proval, ac­cord­ing to records pro­vided by the board Fri­day.

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