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California

CA Governor Pardons First Registrant

California Governor Gavin Newsom has issued the state’s first pardon to a registrant.  The pardon was issued to Bayard Rustin, a colleague of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on February 4.  Rustin was convicted of a sex offense and required to register as a sex offender in Los Angeles in 1953 because he participated in a consensual adult sex act with another man.

“We celebrate the courage and wisdom of Governor Newsom in his decision to issue a pardon to Bayard Rustin,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci.  “This is the first time a California Governor has issued a pardon to a person convicted of a sex offense.”

The issuance of Rustin’s pardon followed requests made to the Governor by both the California Legislative Black and LGBTQ Caucuses.

Rustin is credited as a key strategist and organizer behind the 1963 March on Washington, D.C.  He is also credited with helping Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott.  Rustin visited California several times during his civil rights career, including trips to Japanese Americans imprisoned in the Manzanar interment camp.

President Barack Obama honored Rustin in 2013 by posthumously awarding him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award in the United States.  That award described Rustin as “an unyielding activist for civil rights, dignity and equality for all.”

Following his issuance of Rustin’s pardon, Governor Newsom announced that his office would launch a new clemency initiative focused on pardoning others who were prosecuted in the state of California because they were gay.

“I thank those who advocated for Bayard Rustin’s pardon, and I want to encourage others in similar situations to seek a pardon to right this egregious wrong,” stated Governor Newsom in a press release issued on February 5.  According to that press release, the new clemency initiative will work to identify eligible pardon candidates, and diligently process applications with the express goal of pardoning eligible individuals.  Additional information regarding that initiative is available at www.gov.ca.gov/clemency

Download the Pardon – Bayard Rustin – Feb 2020

 

Join the discussion

  1. eli

    For what good does a pardon do for me if I already passed away?
    Not the kind of news I am looking for but good for California residents to check out.

  2. Eric

    Thanks to Governor Newsome for taking one small step in the right direction.

    • Timmmy

      It is a political stunt. What you are not being told is the act was done in basically a public area, inside a vehicle where anyone could of seen them. That is how they got caught.

  3. Jack

    Wow. Jerry brown didn’t do that for a man convicted of having gay sex? Seems he wasn’t quite as liberal as I’d been lead to believe.

    • AERO1

      How do you pardon the Dead? Just know this not one person in California convicted of 290 registration will ever be parted.Don’t waste your time or your money On these Boston to hope it’s a political stunt For the black vote and the gay vote.

  4. Whoopie!

    Don’t anyone get excited about this political ploy. It’s meant to curry favor with the black / gay demographic for votes. Has nothing to do with any current registrant. You could save a school bus of burning children and not get a sex offense pardon. Accept it.

    • Bill

      @Whoopie!

      While I was encarcerated I was told to accept residency restrictions and posting of signs on every Registrants’ lawn every Halloween. When I came out they were gone.

      So don’t you tell us what to accept and save that smirk for something else.

      • Whoopie!

        What…….ever!

        • USA

          You guys need to wake up. Our current Governor is the most liberal Governor who has ever existed. He opposes ICE and even is opposed to deporting illegals with records! This gives us an amazing opportunity to alter the tiered registry and possibly pass additional laws which help those who want to help themselves. Negativity will get you no where.

    • James

      Pardoning a dead registrant. That’s about par for the course when it comes to getting the executive and legislative branches to respect our liberties.

      I’ll also receive an pardon when I die, but from a much higher authority. By then, I won’t need empty platitudes from society such as these.

      • TS

        @James

        Well said.

      • Harry

        “I’ll also receive an pardon when I die, but from a much higher authority.” Actually James and as many others has already received that Devine pardon. What man’s authority says are always trumped by God.

      • R M

        My death will hopefully spread my sex offender cooties to all of the world as I request to be cremated and dumped into the oceans of the world.

  5. Laura....

    One small step for man. But now ONE GIANT LEAP FOR JANICE, FRANK, CHANCE, AND WHOLE ACSOL TEAM…down to the last small voice.

  6. w

    The recall effort against Newsom in CA is gaining support. Lots of really bad legislation making it through, just a constant flip-flop of laws politics and power. One way or another the system endures and awaits the next avatar to take the helm.

    Always facing the same problem: continue the status quo or deliver the change that’s needed. So they take a small step, the least possible move that is still barely measurable. And then 4 years go by and suddenly they need to keep their jobs. “Vote but just don’t get to know anything about me other than my Twitter feed PR!”

    • NPS

      A recall effort is gaining support? This is the first I’ve ever heard of a recall. I know for darn sure that Gavin Newsom is well liked here in the Bay Area; of course, he is a local resident.

      If there is any type of recall effort, it’s probably coming from the CALabama areas of the state or the San Diego region. You know the ‘Muricans who shout ‘Murica first. Neither of which really has much of a foothold in CA politics. Which brings me to the crazy notion that someone mentioned about currying favor from gay or black voters. California is a liberal mecca. Newsom doesn’t need to curry favor with anyone.

  7. Dustin

    Agree – this is a political move. If Rustin were straight and white but all other circumstances were the same, this pardon never would have been issued. Further, a posthumous pardon in all honesty is functionally worthless. Personally, I’m not very big on symbolic gestures like this.

    I’ve read up on a few things about Newsom, and it seems to me that he doesn’t consider homosexuality as criminal (which I agree with), regardless of circumstance (which I don’t). I could be wrong, but it looks like his ultimate goal is to exclude homosexuality from the registry and all other sex crime, and likely struggles with ways to do so while still laying the hammers down on heterosexual registrants, crimes, and accusations of. Maybe it’s a little cynical, but it looks to me like anything Newsom has done in registrants’ favor was probably either inadvertent. Or he couldn’t find a way to benefit homosexual registrants without excluding their heterosexual peers. I can’t tasting the grain of salt when reading these stories.

    Funny thing though, in some states (Georgia, for example) pardons don’t release someone from the registry. In others, like Florida, even death doesn’t. If registration is for life, why are there so many dead registrants? (Grants to maintain the registry, of course)

  8. Mot

    If Newsom were serious he would look at those with a Certificate of Rehab or those who had NON CONTACT offenses and reduce the number and costs of the Registry. But he would not even consider unless he could see advantages to him. Anyway just a thought for Newsom who might be recalled soon

  9. USA

    The Governor just took office in January of 2019. I might remind you (ALL) to grow up! It sounds like your all blaming him for your being on the registry! This is the 1st time any sex related offense has been pardoned. You guys should be celebrating the opportunity for being able to get off the registry and the fact that there are no longer residence restrictions and you can freely visit beaches. I have a 21-22 year old expunged misdemeanor battery with summary probation. I lost a professional license, lost a dream job and I would probably jump off a bridge if I new how much I lost financially as a result of this. Your all filled with so much anger and hatred! Yet, you complain of others doing the same. Why don’t you take action? Donate? Things aren’t going to change overnight? You can attack my comment, but I stand by it 200 %! Quite moaning. I filed my own PC 17B, PC 1203.4 and PC 858.1! It wasn’t easy, but they where granted. I filed a COR in OC which was denied. I’m waiting patiently to get off the registry in 2021! It’s your fault and what are you going to do? Write a 30 paragraph response to my honest and accurate comment, or take action cry babies!

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