Monday, August 25, 2008

Texas Executive Clemency

Several potential clients have called recently asking about applying for a pardon. In Texas, the governor has the authority to grant clemency (a pardon) upon the written recommendation of a majority of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. Clemency includes full pardons, conditional pardons, pardons based on innocence, commutations of sentences, and emergency medical reprieves. Capital cases are an animal all their own and won't be discussed in this article.

A full pardon restores certain citizenship rights forfeited by law as the result of a criminal conviction, such as the right to serve on a jury, the right to hold public office, and the right to serve as Executor or Administrator of an estate. A full pardon removes barriers to some, but not all, types of employment and professional licensing. Licenses are granted at the discretion of the state licensing boards of each profession, and it's advisable to contact those boards directly to learn whether a pardon is necessary or sufficient to restore licensing eligibility. A person who is convicted and who receives a full pardon is entitled to an expunction of all arrest and court records relating to the conviction. Importantly, an arrest is not automatically expunged upon the grant of a full pardon.

Interestingly, in Texas voting rights are automatically restored when a person discharges a felony sentence. Effective September 1, 1997 the legislature restored voting rights to felons convicted in Texas once a person fully discharges the felony sentence, including any term of incarceration, parole, or supervision, or completes a period of probation ordered by any court. See Texas Election Code, sec. 11.002.

A person with a conditional pardon remains subject to conditions of release. A conditional pardon does not restore civil rights or rights of citizenship, and the governor can revoke the pardon if a person does not comply with the conditions of release. A pardon based on actual innocence exonerates the person of the crime and erases the conviction. To consider a pardon for innocence, the Board requires either evidence of actual innocence from at least two trial officials, or the findings of fact and conclusions of law from the district judge in a state habeas action indicating actual innocence.

Applying for executive clemency is a service many Texas criminal defense attorneys provide for prospective clients.  Next time we'll look at the application process and how a good defense lawyer can help the client navigate these tricky waters.


Anonymous said...

my son was convicted of felony of assault. He paid restitution and completed 6 months in state jail. He recieved 10 yrs probation. He was released after 5 yrs probation. He would like to consider a pardon to assist in job placement. He works in the oil and gas industry and many major companies have recruited him. However, his felony conviction is contrary to their hiring policies. Does he qualify for consideration of pardon. He has no other crimial history.

Anonymous said...

kill someone is a felony a person that kill someone can apply for full pardon and clemency

Stephen Gustitis said...

Any convicted felon can apply for a pardon. It is, of course, up to the governor whether to grant the request, however.

Brady said...

I was a knuckle head kid and I made mistakes and I've done my time and now my past is haunting me im a married man with 5 kids who look up to me and im ashamed of my past and they deserve a better role model I have two felony convictions one is possetion and the other is criminal mischief is there any hope for a pardon

Anonymous said...

i had a was convicted of domestic assualt..was my word against hers and her family's.. i have a limited criminal record and no felonies. my ex wife is a convicted felon including credit card fraud drugs and other offenses..i never laided a had on her but if we got in to a bad verbal argument she would call the cops and say i hit her..i pled guilty to aviod a longer jail term since i could not afford a good lawyer... can i get a pardon for these crimes

Unknown said...

Good afternoon,
I was convicted of a felony in 97-98 , served 10 months on a 5 year sentence and completed it. No other convictions.
I'm now an Operations Manager of a rather large company and would really like for this not to follow me.
I would also like to know if doing this would I gain all of my rights back. 2nd amendment to be exact.
Any help would be greatly appreciated

Stephen Gustitis said...

Please refer to the website for the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole. Click on the "clemency" button. There you will find all the applications and directions necessary to request a pardon from the governor. Good luck.