Governor pardons an additional 19 people for 2021

New Mexico News

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham hails the accomplishments of the Legislature and calls for a special legislative in session in the coming weeks to approval recreational cannabis legalization in Santa Fe, N.M., at the close of a 60-day legislative session on Saturday, March 20, 2021. The Democrat-led Legislature charted an economic exit from the COVID-19 pandemic and checked off progressive priorities on policing reforms, abortion rights, medical aid in dying and child poverty. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The state announced via a press release Friday that Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has issued a series of 19 pardons to people convicted of crimes in New Mexico. The release states the majority of the pardons are for people guilty of non-violent crimes.

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Some of the cases are so old, the original complaints are no longer filed online. This is the most recent use of executive clemency from the desk of the governor, following 12 pardons granted in January 2021 and 19 in 2020. The release states the 2020 pardons were the first issued in New Mexico since 2012.

The crimes committed by those pardoned Friday include fraud, drug possession, drug distribution, and burglary among others. Officials say almost all of the offenses were at least a decade old, some going back several decades.

One offender on the list was Matthew Aragon. He shot at a car, back in 1997. When KRQE News 13 spoke with Aragon six years ago, he said four men were trying to steal from his garage and he shot at the tire of their getaway car to stop them. Aragon spent six months in jail. Aragon was the focus of a 2015 News 13 story after he was elected as a board member of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District. However, he couldn’t hold the position because he was then a convicted felon.

Getting a pardon from the governor restores certain fundamental rights, like the right to vote and in Aragon’s case, can now hold public office. There are other reasons why a convicted felon would want to be pardoned. In one petitioner’s request for expungement a few years ago, they were going into retirement and faced obstacles getting home loans.

In order for someone to be pardoned, they must show that they’re a productive member of society, shown remorse for their crime, remained a law-abiding citizen and demonstrated personal growth. Since Lujan Grisham has been governor, she’s granted 50 pardons. Former Republican Governor Susana Martinez granted three pardons during her entire eight years in office. News 13 wondered why some violent offenders were on Lujan Grisham’s pardon list. News 13 asked for an interview but was told the governor was not available.

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