Executive Clemency in Tempe

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What is Executive Clemency?

Executive clemency is a power vested in the President of the United States and the State Governor to pardon a convicted individual, commute a sentence, or reduce a sentence. In federal criminal cases, the President has the power of executive clemency to intercede on behalf of a person convicted of a federal crime. In state convictions, the power to grant executive clemency rests with the discretion of the Governor.

Many reasons exist for a Governor or a President to exercise their power of executive clemency. New evidence may arise creating doubt about the guilt of the convicted individual or significant doubt may already exist. Clemency could also be extended to an individual with an excessive sentence that does not match the crime committed. In cases where an excessive sentence may have been imposed, a prisoner may have his or her sentence commuted (shortened), often to time already served in prison. Clemency could also be granted for humanitarian reasons if, for example, an inmate is elderly and/or is extremely ill or has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. To learn more about executive clemency and to discuss your case, contact our Tempe Criminal Appeals Lawyer today.

Filing a Petition for Executive Clemency or Commutation

Attorney Trent Buckallew has extensive knowledge regarding the process involved in petitioning the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency for those who are seeking relief from excessive and/or unjust sentences. He has the experience to fight and advocate on your behalf to achieve any possible relief that may be available to you through the clemency process, whether it is commutation (or shortening) of an excessive sentence, seeking pardon or seeking reprieve. The strength of your petition can in some cases rely on the knowledge and skill of your criminal defense attorney, so it is important to hire an attorney with the experience necessary to successfully petition your case.

Commutation Proceedings

Once the Petition for Clemency is filed, and deemed eligible, a Phase I hearing (which is an in-absentia hearing at the Board office) is held to review the application (and other applicable case records) to determine if the application should be moved forward to a Phase II hearing. While no testimony will be heard during the Phase I hearing, members of the public are welcome to attend (including victim’s, inmate’s family and attorneys). If the commutation request is moved forward, a Phase II hearing will be scheduled, usually within approximately 60 days, where board members will hear testimony from those wishing to speak, including the inmate. At the end of the Phase II hearing, The Arizona Board of Executive Clemency (ABOC) will vote to determine whether to make a recommendation to the Governor for commuting or ‘shortening’ the petitioner’s sentence. If the majority of the board votes favorably at the conclusion of the clemency hearing(s) “…after finding by clear and convincing evidence that the sentence imposed is clearly excessive given the nature of the offense and the record of the offender and that there is a substantial probability that when released the offender will conform the offender's conduct to the requirements of the law.” § ARS 31-402 (C)(2) (for offenses committed after 1/1/94) then a letter of recommendation will be submitted to the Governor. Once the Governor receives the Board’s letter of recommendation, he or she will make the decision whether to grant or deny the sentence commutation.

Contact a Board Certified Criminal Appeals Attorney today at (480) 988-7993 to discuss legal options for a loved one who is incarcerated and seeking executive clemency or other possible legal remedies for an excessive or unjust sentence.

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