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Executive Clemency Guidelines

GUIDELINES FOR EXECUTIVE CLEMENCY

A pardon by the Governor of the West Virginia serves only to eliminate or reduce the punishment, including fines, imposed by a West Virginia Court. A governor's pardon cannot expunge or otherwise eliminate a finding of guilty or the resulting record of conviction. For those persons found guilty of a criminal offense, expunge cannot occur until two years after a pardon has been issued, or until twenty years after the discharge of his or her sentence upon the conviction for which he or she was pardoned. In addition, there are certain crimes for which expungement cannot be granted at any time.

Therefore, except in unusual circumstances, a governor's pardon is available only to individuals incarcerated on the proposed date of pardon or to individuals on probation or parole on the proposed date of pardon. Generally, an inmate, parolee, or probationer must have contributed extraordinary service to his penal institution, exhibited extraordinary motivation toward his rehabilitation, or to be suffering an extreme life-threatening medical condition that has been certified by prison medical staff in order to be eligible to apply for a pardon.

The inmate, parolee or probationer may initiate the pardon application. With written consent of the inmate, parolee or probationer, any other person may initiate the pardon application.

An applicant for an executive clemency must meet the following specific guidelines:
  1. Determinate and Indeterminate Sentences: The inmate shall be eligible to apply for a pardon no sooner than the date on which he first becomes eligible for parole.

  2. Life with Mercy Sentences: The inmate shall be eligible to apply for a pardon no sooner than the date on which he first becomes eligible for parole.

  3. Habitual Life Sentences: The inmate shall be eligible to apply for a pardon no sooner than the date on which he first becomes eligible for parole.

  4. Life Without Mercy Sentences: The inmate must have served fifteen years.

  5. Concurrent and Consecutive Sentences: The inmate must note separately and specifically on his pardon application each concurrent sentence that he is presently serving on each consecutive sentence that he is presently serving or that he will serve for which he seeks a pardon.

  6. Reapplication After Previous Denial: Any inmate or parolee denied a pardon by the Governor will not be eligible for reapplication until he has been placed on parole, or until three years have passed since the date of the inmate's or parolee's last application for pardon.

  7. Application by Parolee: A parolee may apply only once for a pardon during the course of his parole, and an inmate's pardon application pending on the date of his parole shall be counted as the one application allowed during the parole.

  8. Parole Violators: Any person violating a parole granted on a current sentence is not eligible to apply for a pardon of that sentence.

  9. Application by Probationers: A probationer may make an initial application for a pardon any time after the beginning of the probationary period, but a subsequent application for pardon by that probationer will not be considered until three years have passed since the date of that probationer's last application for pardon.

  10. Probation Violators: Any person violating probation granted on a current sentence is not eligible to apply for a pardon of that sentence.

  11. 90-Day Limitation: No application for pardon will be accepted after the 90th day prior to the discharge of sentence (including "good time" accumulated), the discharge of parole, or the discharge of probation.

  12. Fines: A fine imposed by a court as punishment will be eligible only for partial or full remission by the Governor prior to the full payment of that fine, but under no circumstances will court-ordered remunerative payments to the victims be in any way remitted by the Governor


The power to grant a pardon remains within the absolute discretion of the governor. Nothing set forth in these guidelines shall be construed to restrict the independent and sole authority of the Governor to act at his discretion in granting or denying any pardon request or application.

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