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Governor considering pardons for 13

Gov. Martin O’Malley is weighing pardons for 13 people convicted of relatively minor offenses dating back to the 1980s and 1990s.

The 13 offenders seeking pardons are named in a public notice slated to run on Aug. 15. The notice says O’Malley could make a decision “on or after” the date of publication.

The notice and online court records of the 13 applicants, where available, show single-charge convictions for such offenses as underage drinking in 1999 and non-support of a minor that led to one year of probation in 1981.

Other charges include shoplifting, misdemeanor theft and bad-check charges and a 1996 probation before judgment verdict in a controlled dangerous substance/not marijuana case.

The applicants and the convictions come from a range of jurisdictions including Worcester County, Allegany County and Baltimore city.

Pardons are available only to those who are recommended by the Maryland Parole Commission. Applicants must have been crime-free for five years after completion of a sentence for a misdemeanor; for felonies, the period ranges from 10 to 20 years.

Even then, the governor has sole discretion to decide whether to grant a pardon. O’Malley, who took office in 2007, first did so in 2009, more than two years after taking office.

This March, he issued his first commutations of life sentences in the cases of Tamara Settles and Mark Farley Grant. Grant’s case was championed by the Innocence Project at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.

Daily Record Legal Affairs Writer Kristi Tousignant contributed to this story.