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How can someone pursue a pardon in Arkansas?

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Only a small portion of those accused of criminal activity in Arkansas attempt to defend against the allegations they face. Occasionally, even though someone maintains their innocence, they end up convicted after a criminal trial.

The judge who heard their case then determines the sentence that will be imposing based on the circumstances of the case in question. Some people attempt to appeal an unfavorable trial outcome. However, appeals are only successful in very specific scenarios. Someone who is not eligible for an appeal or who has been unsuccessful in an appeal might seek a pardon.

A pardon involves seeking post-judicial relief from the Executive branch. For those convicted of a crime in Arkansas, the request for a pardon often begins with the Governor.

The clemency process is a lengthy one

Those petitioning for clemency and seeking a pardon generally have a serious state conviction on their record. They may have new evidence or details of extenuating circumstances that they believe would prompt the Governor to view their petition favorably. If successful, a request for a pardon could lead to an end of someone’s criminal penalties. They may also become eligible to remove the prior conviction from their criminal record.

Someone currently in state custody and anyone with a conviction on their record can potentially apply for clemency, but they will generally need to be patient. The Governor has the authority to grant a reprieve, commute a sentence or outright pardon someone for a prior criminal conviction. It can take a while to obtain a review by the Governor.

They submit an application for review to the Board of Parole. The Board helps determine if the application warrants a hearing. If the hearing occurs, the victim may receive notice about the request for clemency. They will have the option of submitting a letter or testifying in person about their opinions on the matter. It is only after the hearing that the application for clemency will pass to the Governor, along with a written recommendation from the Board of Parole. When the Governor feels inclined to approve an application for clemency, they must publish notice of that fact and allow for public comment over a 30-day period.

Seeking a pardon or clemency from the governor requires careful preparation. Securing appropriate legal support can increase someone’s chances of obtaining justice after an inappropriate criminal conviction.