To understand the concept of legal pardons, in the United States, or anywhere, one must first understand the definition of pardon. According to Wiki, a legal pardon is “the forgiveness of a crime and the penalty associated with it”. However, such pardons can only be granted by the head of State, or at times, a competent church authority.
Of course, while “commutation”, is a related term, when it comes to commutation, penalties may be reduced though there is no forgiveness of the crime. Whereas, Clemency is an associated term which includes all of the above, a pardon, a commutation, and forgiveness. As such, when one receives a commutation either off part or all of a sentence, one may released, but can never have the crime removed from record.
Although, while pardons basically mean the same thing to all criminals in all countries, different countries have different rules pertaining to such pardons. As such, this particular article looks at how such are handled in the United States. For, while one of the freest and richest countries in the World, pardons are often harder to come by than anywhere else in the World.
So, why are pardons granted? Pardons are granted in a variety of countries when individuals have fulfilled their debt to society, or deserve a pardon for other reasons according to heads of State or prison officials. Of course, pardons are also offered in some instances where individuals have claimed and proved that they were wrongfully convicted. However, the latter has become more frequent in the United States since the discovery of DNA evidence.
As to Clemency, such is often requested by foreign governments which do not believe in Capital punishment when of their citizens has been sentenced to death by a foreign nation. As such, Clemency is often one of the most complicated aspects of legal pardons. Still, if a country can prove it is in the best interest of the country and individual, often such Clemency can be granted when and where both countries agree on same.
A good example of such a pardon is that of Leonard Peltier, who has requested a pardon, year after year, president after president to no avail. Or, that of Nixon who was pardoned after committing severe political crimes while in the White House. So, while legal pardons are available, just as issues with the justice system, such pardons are not always just.
Perhaps this is why in the United States, power to pardon an individual convicted of a Felony is granted only to the President under the Constitution. Although, the Supreme Court has now interpreted such language to include conditional pardons, commutations, conditional commutations, remissions of fees and other amnesties, respites and forfeitures. Still, with such power limited to one individual, fewer and fewer individuals have been pardoned over time.
As such, all request for Federal pardons are addressed to the President who can either deny or grant such request. Of course, the percentage of pardons during a presidency varies with each change in administration. However, fewer pardons have been granted since World War II than before. As such, while such power to pardon has been controversial at best from the onset, Alexander Hamilton became successful in defending such powers with the first pardon being granted to the Whiskey Rebellion.
Although the U. S. Justice Department recommends that those requesting a pardon must wait five years after conviction, or prior to release to receive such a pardon, this is not always the case now when it comes to wrongful convictions. However, when it comes to presidential pardons, one can be granted at any any time though most pardons are seen as an admission of guilt unless otherwise defined through legal preceding.
To this end, individuals convicted of crimes who receive legal pardons must still report such crimes on job applications and can have no Civil Rights reinstated under Federal law. However, as such measures are often imposed and upheld by State laws, the State in which the individual resides has the right to remove such limitations where appropriate. So, as the federal pardon process can take a great deal longer than working with the State, individuals may wish to discuss restoring their Civil Rights with a State Representative rather than going through such Federal channels upon having received such a pardon.
Since the laws have changed in many states, parents around the world are asking what their legal
rights are when it comes to children. It depends on the state, but parents have a varying degree of
For example, if you have an unruly child and are continuously attending court hearings as a parent,
you have the right to terminate your rights to the child. If your child is unruly and constantly getting
you in trouble, then you are responsible for paying court fees, fines, and other charges for each
criminal act committed.
As the parent, you have the right to request a hearing in your local circuit court to demand
termination of your parental rights. Many states have a time frame for requesting termination. For
example, Michigan requires that the parent(s) write the courts within 21 days to request a
termination of parenting rights. Once you file a claim and send it to the Courts of Appeal, the courts
will review your request and setup a date for the appeal. You also have the right to contact the FIA
or Human Health Services-also known as Social Services–and the adoption resources to confirm
that you are requesting a termination of responsibility for the child in question.
Sometimes when parents have gone to all lengths to get help for their child and the child is not
cooperating, requesting termination of their rights is the best legal advice anyone can give them,
since the child is putting them at risk of going to jail for his or her behaviors.
If you are currently in this situation, you should check out your local parental rights laws. If you
have gone to extreme lengths to give your child opportunities, to discipline them, and to provide for
they, and they still persist in getting into legal trouble that involves you, you may want to consider
terminating your rights as a legal guardian.