SANTA FE – New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has granted clemency for 19 people convicted of crimes in the state, the governor’s office announced Friday.
The office said these were the first pardons of her administration and noted the majority of those receiving clemency had been convicted of a nonviolent offense.
Lujan Grisham’s predecessor, Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, pardoned a total of just three people during her term. Martinez had denied at least 72 pardon applications, including 13 in which the state Parole Board recommended approval, according to records provided by the board in 2018.
Those receiving clemency by Lujan Grisham had convictions of forgery, drug possession, burglary, larceny, issuing a worthless check and conspiracy, among others. The office said all of the offenses were at least a decade old, some going back a decade.
The majority of the applicants provided clemency by Lujan Grisham had also previously applied for pardons under the previous administrations of Martinez or former Gov. Bill Richardson, the office said.
“The power of executive clemency is an exercise in compassion,” Lujan Grisham said. “Each of us, in our own way, in our own lives, has the obligation to find forgiveness in our hearts for those individuals who have paid their debts, who have expressed genuine contrition and made sincere and forthright amends for their offenses.”
Among those granted clemency were Faury Gonzales, 59, and David Bugarin, 42. Gonzales was convicted of conspiracy to commit drug offenses in 1996, and Bugarin was convicted of larceny and aggravated burglary in 1999.
The governor refers requests for executive clemency to the state Parole Board, which conducts investigations and provides nonbinding recommendations. The Parole Board recommended clemency in each of the 19 cases.