Gavin Newsom Seeks Pardon for Acclaimed Podcaster

Gavin Newsom

Governor Gavin Newsom of California has put forth a request for a full pardon for Earlonne Woods, a celebrated podcaster formerly incarcerated at San Quentin, known for his work on the podcast “Ear Hustle.” This plea was included in the governor’s annual Easter clemency and parole list.

Woods, who gained prominence with his podcast shedding light on the lives of incarcerated individuals, recently made headlines by securing a documentary deal with actor Morgan Freeman. Despite having his potential life sentence commuted by Governor Jerry Brown in 2018, Newsom aims to clear Woods’ record entirely.

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In 2017, Woods co-founded the podcast “Ear Hustle,” which offers a platform for the narratives of both current and former inmates at San Quentin. The podcast has garnered numerous accolades, including multiple journalism awards and Peabody nominations. Recently, it secured a partnership with Morgan Freeman’s Revelations Entertainment for an upcoming docuseries.

Having served 21 years in prison, Woods now advocates for reforming California’s Three-Strikes Law, which significantly contributed to his lengthy sentence due to previous convictions. Despite his release following Governor Brown’s intervention, a pardon would absolve him of the crime altogether, effectively erasing the conviction from his record.

Newsom’s interest in reforming the criminal justice system, particularly within the confines of San Quentin, has also led to significant actions such as the 2020 pardon for David Jassy, a musician associated with the podcast. Alongside Woods’ pardon request, Newsom granted clemency to individuals convicted of serious crimes, signaling a broader push for rehabilitation and redemption within the state’s legal framework.