Executive Clemency




Thereare three types of executive clemency, namely the full pardon, thepartial pardon and the commutation of sentence. The full pardonclemency restores the citizenship rights to a convict, but does notremove the conviction from the person’s criminal record (Abadinsky,2012). The partial pardon gives a person some limited clemency sinceit does not provide complete relief from the consequences of theconviction. On the other hand, commutation of sentence is thereduction of a person’s sentence or legal penalties withoutreleasing him from prison (Abadinsky, 2012). Unlike full pardon,commutation of a sentence is conditional and does not nullify theconviction.

Clemencyis an exercise of parole that originates from an executive authoritythat gives pardon to a person against legal charges. Clemency isissued by an executive authority and executed by the parole board.The president of the United States gives clemency for federaloffenses while governors can give clemency for state offenses. Whileclemency gives pardon, parole leaves the convict with after-releaseconditions.

Onesignificant presidential pardon in the United States is the pardoningof President Richard Nixon by his successor president Gerald Ford in1969 (Hughes, 2007). The former president had admitted his guilt andinvolvement in the Watergate scandal he was to be charged in fullfor the crimes committed against the opposition. This pardon was notwarranted because the president and his staff at the Statehouse hadinfringed several rights of the opposition during the campaigns bywrongful use of office. However, the pardon was necessitated by theneed for national unity. The second pardon is that of GeorgeSteinbrenner by President Ronald Reagan in 1989. George Steinbrennerhad pleaded guilty in 1974 for illegal campaign contributions andobstruction of justice (Hughes, 2007). This pardon was not warrantedbecause the prosecutors who George Steinbrenner had pleaded guiltyto, were not consulted before the pardoning.


Abadinsky,H. (2012). Probationand parole: Theory and practice (11th ed.).Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall

Hughes,M. (2007). PresidentialPardons.Retrieved From,&lthttp://www.infoplease.com/us/government/presidential-pardons.html&gtAugust 3, 2014