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What is Clemency?

Clemency, sometimes called a pardon, amnesty, or commutation, is the act of forgiving a criminal of the liability for their actions. For example, person A could have burned down a house, and been convicted of arson. If person A is granted clemency, then they are forgiven for burning down the home, and are not punished, or punished less severely than they would have had they not received clemency.

How Can I Get Clemency?

Clemency usually begins with a petition to a "chief executive." Chief executives are generally a state's Governor or the President of the United States. After a petition for clemency is given to a chief executive, it is up to them, and them alone, to grant a criminal clemency. Clemency is actually very difficult to receive, and is rarely granted.

Do I Need an Attorney to Help Get Clemency?

If you have been convicted of a crime, and would like to petition a chief executive for clemency, it is highly recommended that you contact a criminal defense attorney. Only they will be able to determine if you are a candidate for clemency, guide you through the process, and help defend your rights.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 01-28-2014 11:59 AM PST

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