Commutations and Pardons Granted to Individuals Demonstrating Remorse, Rehabilitation and Commitment to Their Communities
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today granted clemency to 11 individuals who have demonstrated substantial evidence of rehabilitation and a commitment to their communities.
"In New York we believe in equal opportunity for all, and these actions will give this group of deserving New Yorkers who have proven their remorse and undergone successful rehabilitation a second chance," Governor Cuomo said. "By giving these individuals a second chance to provide for their families and give back to their communities, we are taking another step toward a more fair and a more compassionate New York. I would like to thank the dedicated volunteer lawyers who represent many applicants for executive clemency and take on these cases without compensation in the interest of fairness, justice and rehabilitation."
Governor Cuomo today issued pardons to the following individuals in recognition of their rehabilitative efforts. Every pardon recipient is in good standing, having given back to their families and communities and lived crime-free for a substantial period of time.
Alejandro Molinet Vega, 63, was convicted of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree and Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree. Mr. Molinet Vega has lived crime free for 29 years.
Claudio Hoyos, 54, was convicted of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree when she was 22 years old. She has been gainfully employed and crime free for more than 30 years.
Adewale Ogunbowale, 55, was convicted of Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Third Degree and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree. Mr. Ogunbowale completed required community service and probation, paid restitution and expresses remorse for his crimes. He has been crime free for 21 years and has worked as the Fire Safety director for Harlem Hospital for more than 17 years.
Elvin Pinto Martinez, 43, was convicted of Attempted Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree at 25 years old. The offense stemmed from a drug addiction. After his conviction, Mr. Pinto Martinez voluntarily enrolled in a six-month outpatient drug rehabilitation program. He has been crime free for 19 years.
Indira Ozuna, 53, was convicted of Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree at 32 years old. She has been crime-free for 21 years.
Kwame Siriboe, 41, was convicted of misdemeanor offenses for possession or sale of marijuana between the ages of 27 and 31 years old. Mr. Siriboe has a GED and certifications in auto mechanics, AC and refrigeration and has worked as a maintenance worker for Safe Horizon, a victims' services organization, for 11 years. He has not been convicted of any crimes for 18 years.
Renata Smith, 41, was convicted of Criminal Possession of Marijuana in the Fourth Degree at 25 years old. She now runs an IT consulting company and an afterschool enrichment program. Ms. Smith has been crime free for 16 years.
David Lugo, 49, was convicted of two counts of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree in 1995 and 1998 and Attempted Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree in 1990. Mr. Lugo was addicted to drugs when he committed his crimes, but he has been sober for 10 years and has been crime free for eight years.
Alexander Levin, 41, was convicted of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Fourth Degree and Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree in 2003. At the time of the crimes, Mr. Levin was addicted to crystal methamphetamine. After successfully undergoing treatment for his addiction, Mr. Levin has turned his life around and is now a highly acclaimed pastry chef and works to promote sobriety in the food services industry. He has been crime free for 16 years.
Governor Cuomo today commuted the sentences of two individuals who have demonstrated substantial evidence of rehabilitation. They will return to their communities and help serve as essential credible messengers to reduce crime throughout New York State.
Monica Szlekovics, 42, was convicted of Murder in the Second Degree and related charges in Monroe County in 1996. Ms. Szlekovics had a traumatic upbringing, suffering physical abuse by a number of men, including extreme, ongoing physical and psychological abuse from her husband. As a result of years of brutal domestic abuse, Ms. Szlekovics was suffering from Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and trauma bonding when her husband forced her to participate in these offenses. Her husband confessed to actually shooting and killing the victim. Since her conviction, Ms. Szlekovics has completed college with a BA in sociology, worked as a clerk/administrator for the college program and worked and then volunteered in the parenting center. She has also participated in domestic violence classes and has had years of individual therapy for severe victimization at the hands of her former husband. She expresses remorse for her role in the crimes, and has extensive support from the domestic violence groups and women's justice advocates. Former Monroe Country District Attorney Mike Green, who was DA at the time of Ms. Szlekovics' crimes, supports commutation of her sentence. With a pardon, Ms. Szlekovics hopes to work for an organization that provides restorative justice programming so that she can help domestic violence victims and former inmates re-integrate into society using the skills she has acquired through her educational and vocational experiences in prison.
Ryan Brice, 32, was convicted in 2014 of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree and related charges. Mr. Brice turned to crime to make money after his family lost their home and possessions from flooding during hurricane Irene. Although Mr. Brice was sentenced as a violent offender because of the weapons charge, he has never engaged in violence. During his incarceration, Mr. Brice has obtained his GED and has completed anger management and vocational training. Mr. Brice has also been working as a facilitator in Transitional Services since January 2017. Upon his release, he plans to continue his education and earn an Associate's degree.
Individuals interested in applying for clemency should visit Governor Cuomo's clemency website. The website is a central resource for those seeking to learn more about clemency, eligibility requirements and the application process, including submitting application materials electronically. Family members and friends of individuals serving prison sentences are encouraged to visit the website and apply for clemency on behalf of their family member or friend, or to send in support letters for loved ones who have applied themselves.