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Criminal Records And Pardons
A pardon is an act of the Executive of a state or country whereby a person is forgiven of a crime.
If the person is still serving criminal penalties such as a prison sentence, that penalty is no longer in effect and the person will be released immediately.
Any restrictions placed on ex-convicts do not apply to the pardoned person.
That being said, a pardon does not erase a conviction.
The conviction remains on your criminal record and must be disclosed in any situation where information about past criminal activity is required.
The power to grant pardons usually rests with the Governor of the State.
To be granted a pardon in a particular state, you will generally need to receive a Governor’s pardon. However, in some states, the Governor’s wishes may not be sufficient to earn a pardon.
In some states, an agency like the parole board may be in charge of pardons, and may decide pardons independently or in conjunction with the governor.
Pardons For Federal Convictions Only
Under the Constitution, only federal criminal convictions, such as those adjudicated in the United States District Courts, may be pardoned by the President.
In addition, the President’s pardon power extends to convictions adjudicated in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and military court-martial proceedings.
However, the President cannot pardon a state criminal offense. Accordingly, if you are seeking clemency for a state criminal conviction, you must rely on the Governor.