Posted on January 19, 2022

San Quentin Inmate Podcast Host Among New Clemencies Granted by Gov. Newsom

Associated Press, January 14, 2022

California’s governor on Thursday commuted the sentence of an inmate who has drawn national attention as co-host of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated podcast Ear Hustle, which is produced inside San Quentin State Prison.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision will allow Rahsaan “New York” Thomas, 51, to immediately go before the state parole board, which will decide if he should be released on parole. The board already recommended the clemency grant.

Thomas was serving a 55 1/2 years-to-life sentence for a 2000 second-degree murder conviction and related charges after he fatally shot one victim and injured another during a drug deal. A Los Angeles County jury rejected his self-defense claim, that he fatally shot a man who was trying to rob him.


Thomas was among 18 commutations, 24 pardons and five reprieves announced by Newsom.


Eight of the pardons were for California residents who face the possibility of being deported because of their convictions. Newsom’s office called that “an unjust collateral consequence that would harm their families and communities.”

One of the pardons is for a former state resident who already was deported to Mexico based on his conviction.