PENNSYLVANIA BOARD OF PARDONS

 

NOTICE

 

JANUARY 1, 2013

 

As of December 1, 2012, the Board of Pardons clemency applications for incarcerated and non-incarcerated applicants were revised and the issuing procedures have been implemented.  The recently adopted and implemented procedures for filing a non-incarcerated clemency application require an applicant to provide the Board with the following documents/attachments:

1.)  Court documents regarding his/her conviction(s) for which clemency is requested (See Filing Instruction No. 9);

2.)  Certified Driver Record (See Filing Instruction No. 8);  

3.)  Pennsylvania Criminal History Record (Access and Review version, which reflects convictions and non-convictions (See Filing Instruction No. 7); and

4.)  A 2 x 2 color photo (See Filing Instruction No. 6).

 

Effective Immediately:

Clemency applications issued prior to December 1, 2012 will be accepted by the Board of Pardons until November 30, 2013 with the following requirements:

1.)  For a non-incarcerated applicant filing an application prior to May 30, 2013:  The Board will accept the old application form but strongly recommends the applicant provide the court documents regarding his/her conviction(s) for which clemency is requested and a Certified Driver Record.  A Pennsylvania Criminal History Record and 2 x 2 color photo (headshot) were previously required and remain requirements.

 

2.)  For a non-incarcerated applicant filing an application after June 1, 2013 but prior to December 1, 2013:  The Board will accept the old application form but now requires the applicant also to provide the court documents regarding his/her conviction(s) for which clemency is requested and a Certified Driver Record.  A Pennsylvania Criminal History Record and 2 x 2 color photo (headshot) were previously required and remain requirements.

 

3.)  For a non-incarcerated applicant filing an application after December 1, 2013:  The Board will no longer accept the old application form.  The applicant will be issued a new application form, free of charge, and will be required to provide documents/attachments as specified in the filing instructions that were adopted and implemented on December 1, 2012.

 

4.)  For an incarcerated applicant filing an application after December 1, 2013:  The Board will no longer accept the old application form.  The applicant will be issued a new application form, free of charge. 

 

See www.bop.state.pa.us for Filing Instructions for non-incarcerated applicants adopted and implemented on December 1, 2012.  Filing Instructions Nos. 6, 7, 8 and 9 detail the required documents/attachments discussed above.

Function of the Board

In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Board of Pardons reviews criminal cases, except impeachment to determine whether clemency should be recommended to the Governor for his approval or denial.

The Board has tremendous power, as well as an awesome responsibility. Consequently, many people view the Board as a "super court" able, in effect, to adjust the sentence imposed by a lawfully constituted court of law. While the Board may have this power, the record clearly illustrates it is not used haphazardly or capriciously. Rather, the pardoning power has been used for extenuating circumstances in which the court could not act. However, if there is some legal technicality, such as the introduction of hearsay evidence, illegal confession, illegal search and seizure, etc. the court has the responsibility and the duty to resolve those matters.

The Board of Pardons does not decide innocence or guilt. The Judicial System has that function.

Some people equate hearings of the Board of Pardons with a formal hearing before a Court of Law. Board hearings are not formal, but informal. Persons who come before the Board are not sworn in or cross-examined. They appear for the purpose of pleading on applicant's behalf or stating their opposition.

The important point to remember is that the applicant has already been found guilty and sentenced through the judicial process. The Board of Pardons determines whether there are sufficient reasons to recommend mercy. Thus, the Board's only consideration is whether the applicant should be granted a pardon or have their sentence reduced.