What Happens at a PA Board of Pardon Merit Review Session? — Oct. 2022 Answers and Updates

What Happens at a PA Board of Pardon Merit Review Session? — Oct. 2022 Answers and Updates

Merit Review Sessions are an important part of the process by which people in Pennsylvania can apply for a pardon. A Merit Review Session is a meeting of the PA Board of Pardons, at which time Board members will hear from the applicant and any witnesses who may be called to testify on the applicant’s behalf. After hearing from all parties, the Board will decide whether to issue a pardon.

In this article, we’ll give an overview of what happens at a Merit Review Session, as well as some recent updates and answers to common questions.

What Is a Merit Hearing?

Before we get into what happens at a Merit Hearing, it’s important to understand why these hearings are necessary. To grant a pardon, the PA Board of Pardons must find that the applicant has demonstrated “exemplary behavior” and been fully rehabilitated from their past criminal actions.

A Merit Review Session is one way the Board can assess whether or not an applicant meets these criteria. During a Merit Review Session, the Board hears from the applicant and any witnesses who may speak on their behalf. After listening to all of the testimonies, the Board deliberates as a group to determine whether or not they believe a pardon should be granted.

Recent PA Merit Review Session

On October 13th, the Governor’s Board of Pardons held a Merit Review meeting to consider 96 cases of incarcerated individuals. These people hoped to receive a pardon or a commutation, allowing them to leave prison early. The Board had already investigated and reviewed these cases before the meeting. During the meeting, they discussed the merits of each case and voted on whether or not to recommend clemency.

The vote was to determine if the inmate would get a chance to do a public presentation. The Board has five people, and each individual under review has to go through two processes: a Merit Review and a public presentation. If the Board votes yes, the individual in question can do a public presentation.

It’s been just over a month since the city announced that people with certain marijuana possession cases could apply for a pardon online, and the response has been overwhelming. In September alone, nearly 3,600 people filed applications. The Board is now tasked with reviewing all of these cases and deciding whether or not to vote on them.

The Pardons Board recently announced that they would take 3,600 cases under advisement. This is because the window for online applications has recently closed, and the staff needs time to investigate each case. The Board has created dates in December when they will review many cases.

While this may cause some delays, the Board must take the time to review each case appropriately. Ultimately, this will ensure that they make the right decisions.

Key Things To Look Out for in the Next Merit Hearing

Getting a pardon in PA from the Board of Pardons takes work. Applicants must demonstrate exemplary behavior and have been fully rehabilitated from their past criminal actions. This is a high bar, and many applicants need help navigating the process.

That’s where companies like Record Eraser come in. We can also assist in the entire pardon process, from researching records and filing applications to representing clients at Merit Reviews or public presentations.

Find Out if You Qualify for Pardon or Expungement in PA

If you’re interested in learning more about Merit Review Sessions or applying for a pardon or expungement, contact Record Eraser today. We can help you determine if you qualify and guide you through the process. You could be one step closer to a fresh start and a second chance at life!  Contact Record Eraser today to learn how they can help you through the PA  pardon process, and Keep checking back for more Board of Pardons news.

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