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California governor commutes sentences, including for murder

The victims were children in two of the cases and a pregnant woman in a third.
Credit: AP
Gov. Gavin Newsom updates the state's response to the coronavirus at the Governor's Office of Emergency Services in Rancho Cordova, Calif., Monday, March 23, 2020. Newsom said he would close parking lots at dozens of beaches and state parks to prevent the spread of coronavirus after large groups flocked to the coast and mountains to get outdoors on the first weekend since the state's stay-at-home order took effect. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, Pool)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday pardoned five people who already served their time and commuted the sentences of 21 state prison inmates. They include more than a dozen convicted of murder or related crimes. 

The victims were children in two of the cases and a pregnant woman in a third.

Newsom's office says the clemency requests were being considered before the coronavirus crisis but influenced some of his decisions. 

Attorneys representing inmates this week asked federal judges to free thousands of inmates to help prisons better confront the pandemic. Newsom said mass inmate releases would further burden strained community health care systems and homelessness programs. 

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