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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23572
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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My question is in regards to a NYS pardon/clemency. In NYS

Customer Question

My question is in regards ***** ***** NYS pardon/clemency. In NYS 10 and 8 years ago I had 2 charges that I plead guilty too. Both charges were adjudicated youthful offender as i was under 18. I have fulfilled the sentences on these charges years ago and are well in the past. However, I was not actually guilty of either of these charges 1 being burglary 2nd and the other criminal possession of a weapon 2nd. In an effort to be brief I will spare the details unless you need them. My question is if both persons who actually were guilty in these events willingly came forward and admitted their guilt and my innocence. Would that be sufficient evidence to issue a pardon of these charges. If they actually went to the police and wrote statements in admittance or if this was handled entirely by lawyers or what ever need be. Again these are youthful offender Adjudications not convictions. I am aware that these are sealed from my public record. However they are there and considered in the state and government jobs that i am currently applying for. also it would be a great weight lifted to finally obtain my innocence.I have been arrest free since these incidents and have been an active member in my community as a volunteer firefights/emt. I am currently in school. Im 25 years old. Thank you for your time and advice.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 11 months ago.

Hello,

Are the actual perpetrators willing to come forward?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 11 months ago.

Thank you.

I see a handful of problems here. First of all, in my experience when a witness wants to come forward and take the blame for a crime that has resulted in another's criminal arrest and conviction, no court is going to let him or her do so without an attorney, because he would have to make a knowing waiver of his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Whoever hears this confession in a court of law is going to first assign him counsel. Counsel will advise him against doing this, because if there is any way the state can still prosecute this person, they surely wiill.

Just applying for a pardon with a notarized letter from a person who can't be cross-examined is likely not going to get you a pardon, assuming, and I don't, that something which is already not a crime can be pardoned at all. It may be better to reopen your case on the matter of newly discovered evidence and have the judge dismiss all of the charges against you altogether. Then, at least, the reliability of the persons' testimony can be verified.

Finally,under CPL §720.35 (1):

“a youthful offender adjudication is not a judgment of conviction for a crime or any other offense, and does not operate as a disqualification of any person so adjudged to hold public office or public employment or to receive any license granted by public authority”.

I understand that you may want to clear your name, but I don't see that going through all this would gain you anything that you don't already have.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you so much! I was not aware that i could reopen a case that i already plead guilty too. By obtaining council he/she would be able to do something like this? I was under the impression that this was the use of a pardon to overturn a desicion when evidence was provided that proved innocence. Also yes i see what you quoted there about a youthful offender however although it gives me legal right to apply for any position, it is common that in such application like law enforcement, it can and will be used against me as judgement of my character, which is unfair in my circumstances.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 11 months ago.

Sorry for the delay. I'm still basically waking up here.

A pardon is official recognition from your state's highest official that he believes you to be completely rehabilitated.

It can set aside your conviction -- this has already been done. It can remove any disabilities against you as a result of your conviction -- this has already been done. And it is a last resort and only available to those who have no other remedies. Which means, it's not an avenue for relief in your instance.

Yes, you can retain a lawyer and try to get your matter dismissed, but again, the relief you want -- a vacating of your conviction and a sealing of your record -- has already been granted. I understand what you are concerned about, but it will always be true. That is, no matter what your renedt, your records would always be accessible to the government and if you're competing for a job against equally qualified candidates none of whom have a prior brush with the law, the advantage will go to them.

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