SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday commuted the life sentence of a woman convicted of killing her stepfather in 1989, making her immediately eligible for release on parole.
Teresa Paulinkonis, 57, has been in prison for 31 years. She was sentenced to 25 years to life for murder in 1992 in Alameda County. In an order commuting her sentence that Newsom signed Friday, the governor says Paulinkonis "has worked hard to better herself" by earning an associate degree, a business certificate and participating "in extensive self-help programming."
The order noted four corrections workers praised Paulinkonis for "her positive attitude and her willingness to help others."
The commutation was one of 20 acts of clemency Newsom signed on Friday, including nine pardons and 10 medical reprieves, all relating to the coronavirus. Newsom has now issued a total of 72 pardons, 79 commutations and 20 medical reprieves since taking office in 2019.
The California Constitution gives the governor authority to grant clemency. A commutation reduces the length of a prison sentence. A pardon would effectively do the same, but it also restores certain civil rights for people who have already completed their sentences.
A medical reprieve temporarily moves medically vulnerable people out of prison to to serve their sentences in the community under the supervision of parole officers.
Newsom's pardons included:
— Jimmy Cha, sentenced to five years in prison in 1996 for threatening four people with a gun in a restaurant parking lot and punching two of them.
— Josephine Edu, sentenced to seven years in prison for a 1996 getting into a fight with her boss and cutting her with a piece of glass.
— Alexander Galuz, sentenced to three years probation and one year in jail for a 2001 conviction of possessing a controlled substance for sale.
— Marco Gomez, who was sentenced to five years in prison in 1998 after he shot someone following an argument at an intersection.
— Steven Husong, who was sentenced to five years probation and 32 days in jail in 2014 for extortion.
— Robert Hutton, who was sentenced to four years probation and 90 days in jail in 1985 for possessing a controlled substance for sale.
— Ian Jerde, who was sentenced to three years probation and one year in jail in 1993 after being convicted of conspiracy to commit a crime.
— Robert Thies, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for a 1988 conviction of manufacturing, transporting, and possession of a controlled substance; possession of a controlled substance for sale; and conspiracy to commit a crime and obstruct justice.
— Paul Williams, who was sentenced to three years probation and 150 days in jail in 1987 for transporting or selling a controlled substance.
Newsom's medical reprieves included:
— Leland Amos, 68, sentenced to 36 years t life sentence for burglary as a third strike.
— Douglas Aubineau, 63, sentenced to 108 years to life for three counts of robbery as a third strike and for carrying a dirk or dagger as a third strike.
— Rickie Blue-Sky, 75, sentenced to 27 years to life for murder.
— Gabriel Camarena, 63, sentenced to 25 years to life for robbery as a third strike.
— Ronald Carter, 56, sentenced to 42 years to life for carjacking as a third strike.
— Jeffrey Cole, 66, sentenced to 30 years to life for robbery as a third strike.
— Melvin Collins, 77, sentenced to 36 years to life for burglary as a third strike.
— Steven Franklin, 68, sentenced to 70 years to life for two counts of robbery as a third strike.
— Estentio Marigny, 59, sentenced to 41 years to life for robbery as a third strike.
— Timothy Rodriguez, 67, sentenced to 25 years to life for possession of a controlled substance for sale as a third strike.