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Governor’s Pardon In California

Feb 3, 2021 | Governor’s Pardon

A person who has been convicted of a felony in California has a chance to apply for Governor’s pardon. A Governor’s pardon is an honor that can be granted to an individual who can show excellent behavior and a law-abiding life following his conviction.

Who Can Apply for a Governor’s Pardon?

Generally, any person with a California state conviction is eligible to apply to the Governor for a pardon, a form of executive clemency–whenever an executive shows mercy in any form including pardon, reduction, stay. The Governor cannot pardon convictions from other states or federal and military convictions. People convicted in other states shall obtain a pardon in that state and people convicted in federal and military crimes can only be pardoned by the US president.

What are the Benefits of a Governors Pardon?

If a person is granted a pardon the following rights will be restored:

  • Right to own and possess firearms under 2nd Amendment (unless person had felony conviction involving the use of a dangerous weapon).
  • Right to serve on California criminal or civil jury
  • Ability to serve as a state parole officer or county probation officer
  • Right to apply for a state professional licensing without being automatically disqualified
  • Relief from a duty to register as a sex offender

What are the Limitations of a Governor’s Pardon?

A Governor’s pardon does not restore the following rights and limitations:

  • A person cannot serve as a peace officer
  • Record of conviction is not sealed or erased and a person must disclose his conviction when applying for public employment and citizenship
  • In case a person is convicted of an offense after the pardon was granted, his prior conviction can be used against him to enhance the sentence and impeach his credibility
  • A pardon doesn’t protect a person from deportation in case he is not a U.S. citizen and has immigration issues
  • A right to own or possess firearms will not be restored in case the conviction was connected with domestic violence or involved the use of a dangerous weapon

How to Obtain a Governor’s Pardon in California?

  • Obtain a Certificate of Rehabilitation (COR) from the Superior Court, see Los Angeles Superior Court Instruction Packet.
    • Certificate of Rehabilitation is a court order that attests to a person’s rehabilitation.
    • How Does Someone Become Eligible for Receiving a COR in California? Eligibility for receiving a certificate of rehabilitation (“COR”) include the following:
      • Person must have continuously live in California for the past 5 years since his release or for 3 years in case he was on parole
      • Additional waiting period has passed since person was released
      • Person has not been jailed or imprisoned since the end of his sentence
      • Person is not currently on probation for a felony conviction.
      • Person is not deemed ineligible to obtain a California Certificate of Rehabilitation.
      • Person must have lived a custody-free life
      • Person must show proof of rehabilitation and convince the judge that he deserve to exercise all the civil and political rights of citizenship.
    • Use a direct pardon application

Direct Pardon Application

Direct pardon application is available to individuals who are ineligible for a COR. A person must use the direct pardon process in case he was convicted of a crime in California and now reside outside the state.

  • How to Obtain a Direct Pardon Application in California? A person can find the application by accessing the Governor’s website at https://www.gov.ca.gov/ or can request it in writing from the following address:: Governor’s Office of State Capitol, Attention: Legal Affairs, Sacramento, CA 95814

Where Do You Send an Application for Executive Clemency?

A person must first complete the Application for Executive Clemency. After that, he must send the Notice of Intent to Apply for Executive Clemency to the District Attorney in each county where he was convicted. Once notice is given, a person must submit the Application for Executive Clemency to the Office of Governor.

Application for Executive Clemency  Review Process

Once the Governor’s Office receives a direct pardon application or a Certificate of Rehabilitation, the Office usually forwards it to the Board of Parole Hearings. The Board can conduct an investigation, contact the investigating law enforcement agency or the District Attorney and make a proposal on whether a pardon should be granted or not. In case the person has been convicted of more than one felony, the California Supreme Court must give its recommendation on granting a pardon to him before the Governor can do so.

Also see Criminal Law

Also see Court Forms