California Court of Appeal

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Santos v. Brown, C072785

In litigation seeking to invalidate the Governor's surprise commutation of defendant's prison sentence for conviction of two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, arguing that crime victims and district attorneys must receive notice and opportunity to be heard before a grant of executive clemency, pursuant to the Victims' Bill of Rights Act of 2008, also known as Marsy's Law, adopted by voter initiative Proposition 9 in 2008, amending California Constitution, article I, section 28, and statutes, the trial court conclusion that Marsy's Law does not apply to a Governor's clemency decision and judgment on the pleadings in favor of defendants is affirmed where Marsy's Law, despite its obviously expansive protection of victims' rights does not restrict the executive's clemency powers under California Constitution, article V, section 8(a) or the clemency statutes. The holding is limited to subdivision (a) executive clemency and does not apply to the Governor's power under subdivision (b) of the same constitutional provision to reverse or modify a parole decision of the Board of Parole Hearings "on the basis of the same factors" the board is required to consider.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 07/01/2015
  • Published 07/01/2015


  • HULL


  • California Court of Appeal