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Name: People v. Blocker
Case #: A126229
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 11/23/2010

In determining whether to grant a petition for a certificate of rehabilitation, the trial court can consider whether the petitioner has acknowledged his guilt for the offenses of which he has been convicted by a jury. Under Penal Code section 4852.01, a person can file a petition for certification of rehabilitation in the trial court and, if granted, the petition is deemed an application for pardon and forwarded to the Governor with the court’s recommendation that the Governor grant a full pardon to petitioner. The standard for evaluating the court’s denial of a petition is abuse of discretion. In 1998, appellant was convicted by a jury of assault and battery and two counts of misdemeanor molestation of his stepdaughter, the latter requiring lifetime registration. In 2009, appellant filed a petition for certificate of rehabilitation and pardon. Appellant had lived a law-abiding and virtually blameless life following the conviction, but had always maintained his innocence. Focusing on appellant’s claim of innocence, the court ruled that relief was inappropriate and denied the petition. The appellate court held that a trial court may properly consider a defendant’s refusal to acknowledge guilt when evaluating whether he is rehabilitated because such acknowledgment is a critical first step toward rehabilitation. Accordingly, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in considering a defendant’s refusal to acknowledge guilt.