What is a Pardon?
A pardon is the formal forgiveness of a crime and the attached penalty associated with the act. Pardons are granted by the head of a governing body, such as a monarch or a president. A pardon is an associated term with Commutation, which describes the lessening of a penalty attached to a crime, without forgiving the crime itself. Similar to these terms, a reprieve refers to the temporary postponement of punishment.
These aforementioned terms, including a pardon, are categorized within the broad term, Clemency. In modern times, a pardon is granted in many countries when individuals have demonstrated that they have satisfied their debt to society. Additionally, a pardon will be granted in many countries if the convicted individuals have demonstrated a deserving reason to be dismissed from the charges associated with their crime and the attached punishment.
Furthermore, pardons may be offered to those who claim they have been wrongfully convicted for the charges they were brought up on. In the United States of America, pardons for federal crimes are granted by the President, under Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution. This article states that the President “shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.”
The Justice Department of the United States recommends that anyone requesting a pardon from the United States’ Federal Government must wait five years after conviction or release prior to receiving an extermination of the underlying charges and subsequent punishments.