Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Minnesota: The Pardon Record

The Communications Director of the Minnesota State Board of Corrections has done us an extraordinary favor by providing data on the decisions of the State's Board of Pardons during the tenure of Governor Pawlenty. Minnesota State Law does not place the pardon power in the hands of any single individual. Instead, the power is given to the Board of Pardons (which includes the Governor) and the Board's decisions to grant clemency must be unanimous. Here are the data:

Pardon/Commutation
Pardon Extraordinary
Year
Not Eligible/Denied
Granted
Not Eligible/Denied
Granted
2003
13
0
7
10
2004
12
0
10
9
2005
10
0
4
14
2006
5
0
15
12
2007
3
0
18
18
2008
10
0
26
26
2009
7
0
25
10
2010
6
0
28
17
Total
66
0
133
116

The following explanation of terms was also provided: Pardon – an act of forgiveness that exempts the convicted person from the punishment imposed by law. Commutation – the substitution of a lesser or different type of punishment for that imposed in the original sentence. Pardon Extraordinary – a statutorily-created relief granted to applicants who have served their sentence. When a pardon extraordinary is granted, the court is directed to issue an order setting aside the conviction and the applicant is no longer required to report the conviction, except in specific limited circumstances. The conviction remains on the applicant’s criminal record, but the fact of a pardon extraordinary is also recorded.

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