Governor Grants Pardon to Borough Man

On the last day of 2014, Gov. Andrew Cuomo granted pardons to two men, one of whom calls Queens home, after each “contributed positively to society in the years since” completing their prison sentences.

The pardons of Alvaro Khalil Cumberbatch and Antonio Argibay, selected after a review of 171 applicants for clemency, were granted to address the deportation and reentry consequences of their convictions, according to the governor’s office.

This is just the second time since he took office in 2011 that Cuomo has issued pardons.

“These two individuals have been an active and engaged part of the New York community since completing their sentences and deserve a second chance without fear of being separated from their families through deportation,” Cuomo said. “The positive contributions to society by both of these individuals in the years since their release support the case for justice to be delivered through clemency, and I am pleased to take this action…”

Cumberbatch, 33, of Springfield Gardens, was convicted of first-degree robbery in 2003. He was released from prison in 2010 and discharged from parole in 2012. A married father of two young children, Cumberbatch has earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees since his release. He currently works with prison re-entry organizations including the Fortune Society, sits on the board of directors for the Alternatives to Violence Project, and owns his own social-media consulting business. Cumberbatch is a legal permanent resident who immigrated to the United States from Guyana when he was 4 years old. He recently faced deportation proceedings which could be reactivated at any time.

Argibay, 62, who currently lives in New Jersey and is the sole proprietor of a Big Apple-based architecture firm, was convicted of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree in 1979. After completing his minimum sentence, he earned a master’s degree from the Pratt Institute in 1980 while on parole. He has been a licensed architect in New York for over 30 years and is a volunteer with Upwardly Global, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping immigrants re-enter their professions after moving to the United States.

Additionally, Cuomo last week unveiled a new website,, to act as a central resource for those eligible for clemency to apply.

Over the past few years, there has been a sharp decrease in applications for clemency, from a high of 1,269 applications in 2010 to 171 applications this past year.

By Michael V. Cusenza


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