December 15, 2021 | Criminal Defense
If you are wondering about clemency in Cincinnati, Ohio, you have come to the right place. In this blog, the criminal defense lawyers at Suhre & Associates, LLC explain what you need to know. If you need help pursuing clemency, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Even after all of your appeals of a criminal conviction are exhausted, there are still some forms of relief that you can seek. One popular form of relief after serving a sentence is expungement, which is when a conviction is sealed or removed from your criminal record.
Expungement, however, is different than clemency. Clemency is an umbrella term for several different forms of post-conviction relief, including:
Clemency is a power exercised by the governor in the state of Ohio, pursuant to the Ohio Constitution Article III, Section 11. Clemency is defined as an act of mercy by the executive branch of government.
Are Pardon and Clemency the Same thing in Ohio?
Pardon and clemency are not the same things in Cincinnati, Ohio. Pardon is one of the three types of “mercy” or “leniency” the Ohio Governor may grant to someone convicted of a crime.
Under Ohio law, there are several different types of pardons:
- Full pardon
- Partial pardon
- Conditional pardon
- Unconditional (absolute) pardon
- General pardon
A full, unconditional pardon is the best type of pardon and relieves someone of all punishment from a conviction. They are forgiven of all guilt for the crime and are immediately released if they are in custody. A partial pardon is also very beneficial, but it only relieves part of the punishment or part of the guilt from convictions.
A conditional pardon is when someone can obtain a full pardon but only after satisfying certain conditions set by the governor. Examples of conditions could include cooperating with an investigation or successfully completing community supervision. The prisoner is required to agree to the conditions before being granted a conditional pardon.
Another form of pardon is a general pardon. General pardons are when all people convicted of a specific crime are pardoned at the same time. It is more a political tool than the other pardons. For instance, sometimes, those accused of illegal immigration are granted a general pardon called amnesty.
A key feature of a pardon is that it actually restores your civil rights and liberties that were taken away by a felony conviction.
What are Reprieves and Commutations in Ohio?
The two other types of clemency in Ohio are reprieves and commutations. Just like pardons, these are granted by the governor.
A reprieve is when a sentence is temporarily postponed. This could be to allow the convicted party to seek relief through the appeals process rather than sitting in prison during the appeals process. Or, a reprieve is sometimes granted in exceptional circumstances, such as when a family member is terminally ill, and you need to care for them before serving time.
A commutation is when the governor shortens a sentence imposed by the court. This is almost as good as a pardon since it can cut many years off a prison sentence. However, the conviction is still in place on your record, and civil liberties are not restored, as is the case with a pardon.
What is the Process to Apply for Clemency in Ohio?
In Ohio, only the person seeking pardon and their lawyer may apply for clemency. Applications for any form of clemency are made to the Ohio Parole Board.
The application requires thorough background information from the applicant, such as:
- Marital history
- Work history
- Education history
- Criminal history
- Places you’ve lived
- Details about the conviction
Of course, this list is not exhaustive. The application can be found on the Parole Board’s website here.
After you apply for clemency, the parole board will review the application and make a recommendation to the governor for or against clemency. If the application has merit, they will usually schedule a hearing to meet with the applicant and hear from interested parties before sending a recommendation to the governor. It can take from one to two years before a decision is reached.
Due to the extended wait time for clemency, the Ohio Governor has established an “Expedited Pardon Project” for uniquely qualified applicants. Many serious felony convictions are not eligible for this program. However, if someone meets the requirements to apply, they may have a clemency decision much sooner. You can find all the information eligibility for the expedited process here.
Applying for clemency can be very beneficial for those convicted of a crime. However, the application process can be complicated. Contact a criminal defense lawyer for help with your application.
Contact the Cincinnati Criminal Defense Attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Cincinnati
600 Vine Street, Suite 1004
Cincinnati, OH 45202