Continuing a Christmas Eve tradition, California Gov. Jerry Brown issued pardons to 105 people Wednesday, before retracting one to a man hours later after learning he had not disclosed recent discipline by financial regulators, a spokesman said.
Brown retracted the pardon issued to Glen William Carnes, which the governor's spokesman Evan Westrup said was based on a court-issued certificate of rehabilitation. The pardon for a drug-related conviction committed by Carnes as a teenager in 1998 had not yet been signed by the Secretary of State and was withdrawn after an inquiry by the Los Angeles Times.
Federal records show that Carnes was disciplined by investment regulators in May 2013 for allegations including false and misleading statements.
Carnes did not admit guilt or request a review, but he signed a consent settlement with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority agreeing to be barred from financial investment. Allegations included that he violated his former company's policy by participating in "an unapproved private securities transaction" and provided investigators with "false and misleading statements that minimized and mischaracterized his involvement."
Carnes was reached by The Associated Press on Wednesday evening as he was sitting down with his children, wife, and family from out of town for Christmas tamales. He had not heard about the retraction, and they had been celebrating all week.
"Oh my God. You've got to be kidding me," Carnes said in a phone interview. "I was told by attorneys that it didn't need to be disclosed" because it wasn't a conviction, which is what the paperwork requests. He said the sanction was for a technicality — not filing a form letter with his company to get authorization to do volunteer consulting on the side.
Carnes, 37, said he was never paid for the work. Because he no longer needed the licenses he didn't challenge the allegations, he said.
Carnes said he would have had he known it would be problematic now. He said he went through a more than yearlong government background check that provided him with a certificate of rehabilitation, which was issued after he was sanctioned by the authority.
"I cannot believe this is happening, I've waited 20 years for this," Carnes said. He said he would be contacting the governor's office Friday to challenge the retraction. "This is wrong."
The governor's retraction brings the total number of the governor's traditional Christmas Eve pardons to 104, mostly for people who have been convicted of nonviolent drug offenses and burglary more than a decade ago.
Pardons included one that went to a Stanislaus County man sentenced to three years' probation in 1986 for taking expensive wine out of a wine cellar and drinking it. Michael Joseph Moradian Jr. has since "lived an honest and upright life, exhibited good moral character, and conducted himself as a law-abiding citizen," Brown wrote in his pardon.
The governor's office said all those granted pardons had completed their sentences and had been released from custody for more than a decade without committing additional crimes. The Democratic governor said he issues pardons to those who earn them by demonstrating "exemplary behavior" and living productive lives.
The practice was relatively commonplace until the 1990s. Ronald Reagan, a Republican, granted 574 during his two terms as governor, and George Deukmejian, a Republican and former state attorney general, granted 325 during his two terms.
The practice declined after that. Former Republican Gov. Pete Wilson, who was elected to the first of his two terms in 1990, granted just 13 pardons, while former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued 15. Gray Davis, a Democrat, issued no pardons before he was recalled from office in 2003, partway through his second term.
Brown revived the practice and has handed out 510 pardons since taking office in 2011.
A gubernatorial pardon does not erase a conviction but rather restores certain rights, such as allowing the person to serve on a jury. It also gives them the ability to own a gun, unless they had been convicted of a crime involving a dangerous weapon, and allows them to work as a county probation officer or state parole agent.
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