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California governor pardons 5 men facing deportation

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Those pardoned Friday included Sokha Chhan and Phann Pheach, both of whom face deportation to Cambodia, a country ruled in the 1970s by the genocidal Khmer Rouge. Chhan was convicted of two counts of misdemeanor domestic violence in 2002 and served 364 days in jail.

Pheach was convicted of possessing drugs and obstructing a police officer in 2005 and served six months in jail. His wife said he is in federal custody.

Also pardoned was Daniel Maher, who was convicted in 1995 of kidnapping, robbery and being a felon in possession of a firearm and served five years in prison. Maher is facing deportation to China.

Chhan, Pheach and Maher hold permanent U.S. residency but had exhausted all legal avenues to fight deportation, making Brown’s pardons for them their last hope to stay in the U.S., Prasad said.

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“This is a life-changing, enormous event,” he said.

Also pardoned while facing deportation were Daniel Mena and Francisco Acevedo Alaniz, but their home countries were not immediately known. Mena was convicted in 2003 of possessing illegal drugs. Alaniz served five months in prison for a 1997 auto theft conviction.

Brown on Friday also commuted the sentences of 14 others convicted of crimes.

The governor is a former Jesuit seminarian and traditionally issues pardons close to major Christian holidays. Easter falls on Sunday.

California’s longest-serving governor has now issued 1,519 pardons, including 404 during his first two terms as governor from 1975 to 1983.

Brown’s father, Edmund G. “Pat” Brown issued 467 pardons and 55 commutations, but there have been long stretches of very few in California.

From 1991 through 2010, former Govs. Pete Wilson and Gray Davis issued no pardons while Arnold Schwarzenegger handed out just 15.

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Ministers fear 'anti-British' Joe Biden could wreck UK/US trade deal

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SENIOR ministers in the Cabinet are extremely worried about Joe Biden winning the Presidential election because they believe he is “anti-British”.

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Kentucky millennials with felony records head to the polls for first time

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With the election just days away, Mirage Davis is both excited and anxious. For the first time, she will be casting a ballot, and she doesn’t take her right to vote lightly.

Davis, 29, who lives in eastern Kentucky, is enthusiastic about Democratic Senate candidate Amy McGrath, but is still undecided in the presidential election. Seeing a woman on the ticket compelled her to vote inthis year’s election, Davis said, adding that she wants to see more women run for office in the state.

But Davis, a registered independent, didn’t always have a say in politics; convicted of possessing stolen property and drugs, she and tens of thousands others with felony records had been barred from voting until last year, when Kentucky’s governor gave them back that most democratic of rights.

“I’ve gone my whole life feeling like I’m invisible — and I’m not invisible,” said Davis, who is making a point to vote in person. “And it’s empowering being a woman, a felon, and having the right to vote.”

Nearly 5.2 million Americans are unable to cast a ballot in this year’s election because of felony convictions, according to the Sentencing Project, a group that advocates for criminal justice changes. Many states automatically restore voting rights to those who complete their prison sentences, but Kentucky, along with Iowa, Florida, and Virginia, until recently had permanently disenfranchised the majority of felons.

Just after taking office last December, Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, ended the state’s lifetime voting ban for more than 170,000 Kentuckians who have completed their sentences for nonviolent crimes.

“I believe in the power of forgiveness, and those who have committed nonviolent, nonsexual crimes and have served their time deserve to be full participants in society,” Beshear told NBC News in a recent interview. “Part of the dignity in being an American is the ability to make your voice heard through your vote.”

Voters cast their ballots in Louisville, Ky., on Oct. 13, 2020.Jon Cherry / Getty Images
Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear ended the state’s lifetime voting ban for more than 170,000 Kentuckians who have completed their sentences for nonviolent crimes.Bryan Woolston / AP file

Unlike some other states, those who are re-enfranchised in Kentucky are not required to pay fines or restitution before regaining their right to vote — an issue that has become a major political conflict in the key election battleground of Florida. Before Beshear’s executive order, about 9 percent of Kentuckians were ineligible because of their felony records, making the state’s disenfranchisement rate the third highest in the country, according to the Sentencing Project.

Now, as a result of the order, Kentucky millennials with a felony record, like Davis, will be able to vote for the first time this year. While some have been left out of the political process for much of their adult lives, many say they are now motivated to cast their ballots for a variety of reasons — and they hope to see more people their age vote given the low turnout among the state’s millennials in 2016.

“Women for centuries have been working really hard to make a change, and it would be a shame for us to stop that progression by not casting a vote,” Davis said. “I want women like me to know that they have a voice in this election.”

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Brexit deadline: Boris Johnson has just HOURS to respond to huge EU legal threat

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BORIS JOHNSON has just hours to respond to a legal threat from the European Union over the implementation of the UK Government’s Internal Market Bill, with the consequences potentially shaping the outcome of post-Brexit trade talks.

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