Recently, I have been discussing alternatives to a pardon on this website. I’ve already touched upon the commutation of a sentence and an expungement. But on this page, I want to discuss a term that you are probably familiar with – clemency. This is another alternative to a pardon that you should be aware of if you are considering applying for a pardon. Clemency might be the better option for you. Read on to learn about clemency and how it differs from a pardon in Connecticut.
What Is Clemency?
Clemency is defined as leniency granted for a crime. It does not mean that the crime gets overlooked or forgotten. But, in a sense it means the state forgives the crime. A person gets treated more leniently for their actions. This action happens more in severe cases. It is not considered to be a right of any individual. Rather, it acts as a privilege granted when deemed appropriate. Also, it is not easily granted to any individual. This acts similarly to a pardon because the state forgives rather than overlooks the crime. This does not clear your criminal record.
Clemency is a general term used for the act of reducing the penalties of a crime, similar to a commutation. Also, pardons are actually considered a form of clemency. If you receive a pardon, you are always receiving clemency, but if you receive clemency, you are not always receiving a pardon. Forms include:
- A commutation of the sentence.
- A pardon.
- A reprieve.
Who Authorizes Clemency?
This action acts as a privilege and thus can only get granted by a select group of people. These include only the president of the United States and the governors of each state. The president has the authority to grant clemency for federal crimes. The governors have the authority to grant clemency for state crimes. This is if they feel the need to lessen or moderate a sentence given to an individual.
How Is Clemency Shown?
Clemency can occur in several different forms. The first is a pardon in which there is forgiveness for a crime in which some of a sentence is removed. The second is a commutation. A commutation simply lessens the sentence. A common type of commutation is to reduce the death penalty to a life in prison sentence. And the final form is a reprieve that delays or puts off the punishment until the situation is analyzed further. A reprieve occurs when a case needs a full investigation. This ensures that the appropriate punishment is given to an individual. None of these forms will clear a public record.
Clemency vs. Pardon
As I’ve already stated, a pardon is a form of clemency. However, if you receive clemency, you aren’t always getting a pardon. Instead, you might get a reprieve, which will temporarily stay your sentence, or a commutation of sentence, in which case, your original felony sentence will be reduced. This will get you out of prison sooner. Regardless, the most common form of clemency is a pardon.
A pardon will essentially delete your criminal record if it is granted. This means that you can honestly tell people that you do not have a criminal past. You won’t have to tell potential employers that you have been convicted of a crime. You also won’t have to inform colleges, banks, lenders, or people in your personal life that you were convicted of a crime. As you might imagine, having your criminal record erased can open many doors for you and lead to a brighter future.
Discuss Getting Clemency or a Pardon with a Connecticut Attorney
In order to explore all of the clemency options, you should do some research on each. Check out the other pages on this website to learn more. I can assist you in this process. I am happy to schedule a free consultation in which we can discuss your situation, your clemency options, and which one will be best for you. Once you determine if you want to apply for clemency or a pardon, I can help you with the paperwork and forms involved. If you need to participate in a pardon hearing, I can assist in this process as well. Please contact me for more information or to set up your free consultation today!