The pardoning process in the state of Alaska is dictated through the process of clemency, which is the Governor’s constitutional authority to grant pardons, commutations, remissions, and other types of legal reprieve for parties who have been convicted of a crime. To receive a pardon in Alaska, you must apply for clemency. This page will discuss eligibility and the pardon process in Alaska.
The Pardon Process
To receive clemency in Alaska is a multi-phase process involving both the governor and the Alaska Parole Board, both of whom have discretion to deny the furtherance of applications to the next steps. There are four steps involved in this process: application, investigation, consideration, and the decision.
Phase 1: The Application
When applying for clemency of any kind, including pardons, you must fill out this form, outlining your incarceration status, information about your conviction, contact information, and more. This application will be screened for completeness and eligibility by the Board before being sent to the Governor for review. Ineligible applications will not be considered.
To be eligible for a pardon, you must have been convicted of a crime under Alaska state law. This means that federal law convictions will not be considered. Additionally, while not necessarily required, pardon applicants are also encouraged to include:
- Letters of recommendation.
- Proof of discharge from incarceration or probation for a minimum of three years prior to your application.
- Notice that you have not been convicted of another crime within the three year period.
- Notice that you do not have pending charges.
- Notice of exhaustion of all other available remedies.
- Notice that you’ve paid all outstanding fees.
There is no fee associated with the clemency application process.
Once your application is reviewed by the Board, it will be sent to the Governor for review, who has the discretion to allow your application to move forward to the next phase.
Phase 2: The Investigation
Once your application is reviewed and approved by the Governor, it will move into the investigation phase. Within the first five days, the Board of Parole will send notice to victims and the Office of Victims Services. The investigation will last no longer than 120 days and a report of the findings will be submitted to the Governor for review. Upon receipt of the report, the Governor has discretion to deny the application at this stage, or submit it to the Executive Clemency Advisory Committee for consideration.
Phase 3: Consideration
If the Governor approves your application for further consideration, it will go to the Executive Clemency Advisory Committee. At this stage, the Committee will review the investigation report and make a non-binding written recommendation to the Governor on whether to grant or deny your request for clemency.
Phase 4: The Decision
The final stage in the pardon process is the decision phase. At this stage, your application has been deemed eligible for consideration, an investigation has been completed, and the Advisory Committee has submitted a recommendation to the Governor, who in the final stage will make a binding decision on your application. Before issuing a decision, the Governor will review your application a final time to check for conflicts of interest which may impede his or her ability to make an impartial decision. In the event of a conflict, written disclosure will be provided to the Department of Law and the Attorney General, who will determine whether the Governor can issue a decision in accordance with Alaska law. Once the decision has been made, the Governor will then notify the Clemency Board and the Parole Board of his or her decision, and the Department of Law, Victims Rights, the victims, and you will be notified. Finally, the decision will be released publicly.
After the four phases, the Governor’s decision is final and binding, and it cannot be appealed.
While no legal representation is required to seek a pardon in Alaska, legal representation is always recommended. Alaska only gives applicants one opportunity to receive clemency, so getting help from a lawyer to put together your application will ensure your application is in the best possible shape before it is submitted for consideration.
If you have questions or need assistance with the pardon process, contact our office!