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Clemency Questions

Clemency is the act of mercy shown to a convicted individual by a high ranking member of government. Clemency for state crimes is granted by a governor while federal clemency is granted by a president. Below are a few of the more popular questions about clemency that are answered by Experts.

When writing a clemency letter to a parole board, what should a prisoner write?

While there are guidelines, there really isn't a set manner in which to write a clemency letter. The parole board is made up of several members, each having their own way of determining whether a person is worthy of parole. A prisoner must remember that they are not entitled to receive parole. Parole is a privilege that is earned from effort on the prisoner's behalf. Many parole members base their decisions on gut instincts rather than the guidelines. The best approach to writing a clemency letter would be to focus on the positive assets that the prisoner has to offer. Show that he/she hasn't been in any trouble since the last hearing, the ambition they have to seek employment and not depend upon the state to support them, regardless of the obstacles that his/her criminal record may present. A few other pointers to present would be to offer a plan of action to the parole members. This would include things such as housing and employment. Express remorse for the crimes that he/she has committed, show gratitude for the lessons he/she has learned from the mistakes that has been made and that he/she appreciates the time that they have spent in the system, because it has taught them some valuable life lessons.

I recently filed for clemency but I would like to know if there is a way to get a speedy emergency clemency hearing? I can't get a job with the conviction that I have.

Usually, there is a build- up of clemency applications waiting to be reviewed; therefore, you will probably have a long wait. One option you may want to try is contacting your state representatives and ask them for their support. You will also need to ask them if they would write a letter to the governor and request that the governor pardon you. They would of course, explain your situation while applying pressure on the office to move your application to the front. There is no guarantee that the state representative will act on your behalf, but at this point, it is probably your only option.

In Florida, can a person receive an executive clemency if falsely charged and convicted with lewd and lascivious battery. Even if DNA proved they were innocent but still received and serving a 2 year sentence. What would be their options of getting their name cleared as well as not registering as a sex offender?

The first thing you should consider doing is contacting the Innocence Project. The innocence Project is a group of lawyers who often help people who have been cleared by DNA evidence. The attorneys will file the required paperwork on your behalf. If the Innocence Project is unable to assist you, you need to hire an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, contact the public defender's office. It may be possible that the public defender's office will help you with the post conviction procedure. If all else fails, you can file for a petition for post conviction relief or a writ of habeas corpus. You will need to hire an attorney to handle these petitions because they can be very technical. An attorney will give you the best chance of success when filing these petitions.

How do I start the process of clemency on a federal case for a family member?

The President of the United States is the only one who can grant clemency for a federal case. It is by the discretion of each president as to who is granted a pardon and how many people may receive one. Each president varies with the amount of times they choose to use their ability to pardon. The first step would be to apply to the Pardon Attorney in the Department of Justice. All clemency applicants are screened by the Department of Justice and the office determines who will receive a recommendation to the president. This link will explain the process: you will find the information on the left hand column on the page.

I want to apply for clemency in order to be removed from the sex offender site. Is this ever granted?

Clemency is not granted very often under state law and if it is, federal law still would require a convicted sex offender to register. There is only one way to have the federal requirement waved, and that is by receiving a full presidential pardon, and convicted sex offenders are not pardoned by the president.

Clemency may be granted by a governor or a president. To know whether you qualify for a clemency, or if your case would have a chance at seeking clemency, one of the things you could do is to ask an Expert in Criminal Law to evaluate your individual situation and provide legal insight.
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