NEW YORK (PIX11) — Gov. Kathy Hochul granted clemency to 13 people on Wednesday.
She worked with the Clemency Advisory Panel to make the decisions. In all, four sentences will be commuted. Hochul is granting pardons to nine people with strong ties to the US facing immigration issues because of old convictions.
“Clemency is a powerful tool that can be exercised to advance the interests of justice and fairness, and to recognize efforts made by individuals to improve not only their own lives but the lives of those around them,” Hochul said. These grants of clemency serve not only to acknowledge the steps these individuals have taken to rehabilitate themselves, but to remind others that such change is possible and that nobody should be defined by their worst mistake.”
The following individuals received pardons:
- Amir Shaaban, 45 – Shaaban runs a small business with his brother, Hochul’s office said. He’s married to a U.S. Citizen and is a caretaker to both his mother and mother-in-law. Shaaban has lived in the states for more than 30 years. He was convicted of attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, but he’s live a crime-free life for 14 years.
- Denise Shelly-Ann Carter, 46 – Carter works as a home health aide, according to Hochul. She’s an active member of her church and she’s lived in the US for more than 30 years. Carter was convicted of attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree and criminal facilitation in the fourth degree in 1999, but she’s lived a crime-free life for 23 years.
- Brenda Gordillo Plaza, 57 – Gordillo Plaza is working on finish a hairdressing and cosmetology program. She wants to establish her own salon, according to Hochul. She’s lived in the US for more than 35 years. Gordillo Plaza was convicted of four counts of criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree and two counts of petit larceny between 1992 and 2005, but she’s lived a crime-free life for 17 years.
- Franklin Barcacel, 54 – Barcacel volunteers for translation and food distribution programs in his community, officials said. The dad of five and grandfather of one has lived in the US for more than 40 years. Barcacel was convicted of criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree and tampering with witness in the second degree in 1999, but he’s lived a crime-free life for 23 years.
- Paul Antoine, 39 – Antoine came to the US as a 6-year-old child and lived here for more than two decades before he was deported in 2010 after a conviction for attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree. He’s lived a crime-free life for 14 years, according to authorities. A pardon will help him return to the US to care for his aging mother.
- Paola Jovana Espinosa Yunda, 47 – Espinosa Yunsa is a mom of two who’s lived in the US for more than 25 years. She was convicted of two counts of criminal possession of marijuana in the first degree in 2003, but she’d been crime free for 19 years, Hochul’s office said.
- Lesly Parfait, 52 – Parfait works as a concrete worker and volunteers teaching construction skills to youth, officials said. He has two children, four stepchildren and seven grandkids, all of whom are US citizens. Parfait is the primary source of income in his family. He came to the US as a child and has lived here for more than 45 years. Parfait was convicted of robbery in the third degree in 2005, but he’s lived a crime-free life for 17 years.
- Andres Paulino Castro, 52 – Paulino Castro and his wife run two small businesses in the Bronx, authorities said. He has three kids and is an active member in his church. Paulino Castro was convicted of attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree in 2005, but he’s lived a crime-free live for the last 17 years.
- Kurt Hawkins, 54 – Hawkins has two children, two stepchildren and a grandchild, according to Hochul’s office. One of his daughters serves in the US Army. Hawkins was convicted of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree and petit larceny in 1991, but he’s lived a crime-free life for the last 31 years.
The following individuals received commutations:
- Jacqueline Smalls, 60 – Smalls, a survivor of domestic violence, was convicted of manslaughter in the first degree, among other charges, in 2013, officials said. She stabbed her abuser once in the chest. He’d previously choked and assaulted her. Smalls worked to complete her GED and domestic violence programs while behind bars.
- Anthony Evans, 56 – Evans has served almost all of a 22-year sentence for a burglary in the second degree charge, authorities said. He’s earned his GED and become active in the religious community while behind bars. Smalls has a job offer waiting for him upon release.
- Bruce Bryant, 53 – Bryant has been behind bars for more than 30 years after a conviction for murder in the second degree and attempted murder in the second degree, according to Hochul’s office. While behind bars, he earned an associate’s and a bachelor’s degree. He’s also facilitated anti-violence workshops.
- Stanley Bellamy, 60 – Bellamy has served more than 37 years out of a 62-and-a-half-year to life sentence on murder, attempted murder and robbery charges. He was 23 at the time of the crimes. While behind bars, Bellamy has earned a GED along with an associate’s and bachelor’s degree. Bellamy would not be able to see the Board of Parole until 2048, when he would be 85, under his original sentence.