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Executive Clemency

On December 31, 2014, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a new clemency web site to act as a central resource for those eligible for clemency to apply. In addition, the public may view the DOCCS directive 6901, Information Concerning Executive Clemency, here

1. WHAT IS EXECUTIVE CLEMENCY?

Clemency, as defined by the State Constitution (Article IV, Section 4), provides the Governor "the power to grant reprieves, commutations and pardons after convictions for all offenses except treason and cases of impeachment, upon such conditions and with such restrictions and limitations, as he may think proper..." Only the Governor may grant clemency, and it is only granted under the most compelling circumstances.

2. WHEN ARE PARDONS CONSIDERED?

Pardons may be considered if no other adequate administrative or legal remedy is available:

  • To permit a conviction to be set aside where there is overwhelming and convincing proof of innocence not available at the time of conviction;
  • To relieve a disability imposed upon a conviction (this is rarely used since relief may generally be obtained by means of a Certificate of Good Conduct or Relief from
  • To prevent deportation or to permit reentry into the United States.
3. WHEN IS COMMUTATION OF SENTENCE CONSIDERED?

Commutation (reduction) of your minimum period of imprisonment may be considered to enable you to appear before the Board of Parole for release consideration at a time earlier than permitted by the court-imposed sentence.

Except in extraordinary circumstances, a case will be reviewed for possible commutation if

  • Your term or minimum period of imprisonment is more than one year;
  • You have served at least one-half of the minimum period of imprisonment;
  • You will not become eligible for release on parole within one year from the date of
  • You are not eligible for release on parole in the discretion of the Board of Parole.

The Board of Parole is an independent body charged with the duty of determining which inmates sentenced to imprisonment and eligible for release on parole may be released, when they may be released and under what conditions. The Governor will, therefore, not intervene in such matters by considering for clemency any inmate who is eligible for parole release.

4. WHAT IS THE FUNCTION OF THE EXECUTIVE CLEMENCY BUREAU?

The Executive Clemency Bureau within the Division of Parole serves three primary functions

  • To screen candidates for satisfaction of the Executive Clemency eligibility requirements as set by the Governor's office;
  • To gather materials concerning clemency applications; and
  • To respond to letters from applicants and others regarding clemency applications.
5. WHERE MAY I OBTAIN MORE INFORMATION ABOUT EXECUTIVE CLEMENCY?

A two-page document entitled "Guidelines for Review of Executive Clemency Applications" is on file in the law library of each correctional facility for your reference.