California Supreme Court says Newsom can grant clemency to man serving life sentence

California
In this Nov. 6, 2020, file photo, the Supreme Court is seen at sundown in Washington. The state of California has agreed to pay more than $2 million in legal fees in a settlement with churches that challenged coronavirus closure orders. Church lawyers who successfully took their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court said Wednesday, June 2, 2021, that the state agreed not to impose restrictions on houses of worship that are greater than those on retail businesses. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

In this Nov. 6, 2020, file photo, the Supreme Court is seen at sundown in Washington. The state of California has agreed to pay more than $2 million in legal fees in a settlement with churches that challenged coronavirus closure orders. Church lawyers who successfully took their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court said Wednesday, June 2, 2021, that the state agreed not to impose restrictions on houses of worship that are greater than those on retail businesses. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

The California Supreme Court on Wednesday said Gov. Gavin Newsom can grant clemency to a man serving a life sentence for killing a woman during a 1980 robbery.

George L. Hughes is serving life without possibility of parole for the death of Mary Washington, an assistant manager at a fast food restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area city of El Cerrito.

She was in her car after the restaurant closed when Hughes held her at gunpoint, drove away with her in the car, shot her and dumped her body, according to court testimony.

Hughes also was convicted of other robberies.

The governor needs permission from at least four of the seven Supreme Court justices to grant clemency to an inmate who has more than one felony conviction.

Clemency could make Hughes eligible for parole.

Hughes “has demonstrated a commitment to rehabilitation while in prison,” has taken part in self-help programs and works as an assistant to inmates with disabilities, Newsom’s deputy legal affairs secretary, Eliza Hersh, told the court, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

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