Pardons refer to a constitutional procedure by which the Governor’s Board of Pardons reviews an application for ‘clemency’ which asks to have the applicant’s criminal conduct ‘pardoned’, or forgiven.
This procedure is more powerful than expungement, redaction or record sealing – summary convictions can be pardoned, but also felony and misdemeanor convictions.
The Board consists of five Board members, 3 of whom must support the application for it to be ‘recommended’ to the Governor. If the Governor approves, the Pardon is granted, and then an expungement petition can be filed in the County Court to remove the offending history.
The Board seems to weigh and consider several factors:
• The nature of the crimes and what led to their commission;
• Whether the Petitioner accepts responsibility for the conduct;
• The amount of time that has passed since the crimes;
• The hardship that is being created by the criminal history – education, licensing, occupational, clearances, etc…
• How the Petitioner has contributed to society since the crime.
While there are no guarantees as to whether an application will be granted, the Board has been receptive to the granting of clemency to a wide variety of offenses based on the criteria above.