The pardon process is different across the 50 states. Each state has its own type of administration, type of process, eligibility requirements, effect, and frequency of granting pardons. Knowing how the Connecticut process works is important because it is completely different than the way pardons work in other states.
Who Grants Connecticut Pardons?
First, the type of administration that has the authority to grant pardons is the Board of Pardons and Paroles in Connecticut. In other states, other entities can grant pardons. In Connecticut, the Board of Pardons is appointed by the governor. This is unlike many states, which give only the governor the power to review and grant pardons.
The Connecticut pardon process involves a public hearing held once every few months. These hearings are now held via video conference. At these public hearings, the applicant must be present. The Board can deny the pardon before it reaches the full hearing. Many states disregard a public hearing entirely, and allow for informal processes, paper review of the pardon application, or interviews with the applicant.
Eligibility, Effects, and Outcome
People in Connecticut are eligible to apply for a pardon five years post-conviction for a felony, and three years post-conviction for a misdemeanor. In other states, the eligibility varies and can be anything from no eligibility requirements to 10 years post-conviction.
The effect of a pardon in Connecticut actually erases the conviction, destroys all records of the conviction after three years in government databases, and pardoned misdemeanors can be sealed. A pardon in Connecticut is essentially the same as an expungement. You can go about your life, without having to admit to a criminal conviction, including job applications. Other states have variations of the effect in Connecticut, including not sealing any records, and restrictions on returning back to office, and other variations.
In Connecticut, pardons are granted frequently and regularly, especially because of the regular intervals of hearings. There are around 400 pardons granted annually, and more than half of those are for appellants with misdemeanors on their records. Connecticut is among only 12 other states in this country that grant pardons frequently and regularly. Out of those states, only one or two actually come close to or top Connecticut in the amount of pardons that it grants annually. Even Connecticut’s neighbor state, Rhode Island, has not granted a single pardon to a living person in several years. If you are a resident in Connecticut looking to apply for a pardon, you are in a very unique and favorable position.
Applying for a Pardon
If you have heard about applying for pardons in the context of another state, and have been discouraged, hopefully this will give you some hope for applying for a pardon in Connecticut. For more information on pardons, visit the Restoration Rights Project. If you have any questions or are looking to apply for a pardon in Connecticut, call our office to speak with someone who can help you and answer any questions that you might have. We are happy to assist with your pardon!