Florida’s Constitution allows the Governor the executive power of clemency. Clemency is defined as “the constitutionally authorized process by which the Governor, may with the approval of two members of the Cabinet, grant full or conditional pardons, restore civil rights, commute punishment, and remit fines and forfeitures for offenses.” Alongside granting clemency, the Governor also has the sole authorization to deny clemency.
Who is on the Clemency Board?
The Clemency Board, who makes the final determination on clemency application, is made up of the Governor and three members of his cabinet.
This type of clemency releases an individual from any punishment or guilty associated with any Florida conviction. This is an all-encompassing type of clemency because it restores the applicant’s rights of citizenship in totality and includes the right to own, possess, or use firearms.
A Pardon Without Firearm Authority
This type of clemency also releases a person from the guilty and punishment associated with their criminal conviction. It is one step behind a “Full Pardon” because it restores the applicant’s rights of citizenship in totality but does not include the right to own, possess, or use firearms.
A Pardon for a Misdemeanor
This type of clemency forgives the applicant from the punishment and guilt associated with a misdemeanor conviction.
A Commutation of Sentence
This type of clemency adjusts an applicant’s penalty to a less severe sentence. However, it does not restore any rights of citizenship and does not include the rights to own, possess, or use firearms.
A Remission of Fines and Forfeitures
This type of clemency reduces, suspends, or removes the fines and forfeitures associated with the applicant’s criminal conviction.
The Specific Authority to Own, Possess, or Use Firearms
This type of clemency restores the applicant’s right to own, possess, or use firearms that they lost because of their criminal conviction. This type of clemency possesses many caveats because of federal firearms laws. For example. The Clemency Board will no consider requests for the authority to own, possess, or use firearms from applicants convicted in federal or out of state courts. Additionally, the Clemency Board must comply with the feral laws, so a Presidential Pardon or a Relief of Disability must be issued in cases involving federal convictions. Furthermore, A Pardon or Restoration of Civil Rights with zero firearm restrictions must be issued by the state where the conviction occurred. To read more about this topic, please refer to our blog post: Restoration of Gun Rights in Florida.
The Restoration of Civil Rights in Florida
This type of clemency restores the applicant’s rights of citizenship in Florida that they had prior to their conviction. However, this does not include the right to own, possess, or use firearms. Additionally, this type of clemency does not relieve the applicant from registration or notification requirements imposed by prior sexual offenses (or other requirements included as terms of the sentence for sex offenders).
Any individual seeking clemency, including the restoration of rights, must complete an application submitted to the Office of Executive Clemency. These application forms are available on the Clemency page of the Florida Commission on Offender Review website and can be made available by the Coordinator if requested. All application for clemency must be filed with the Coordinator on the forms provided, and they must include the required court documents.
How Does the Florida Clemency Process Work?
When an applicant submits their clemency application to the Office of Executive Clemency, it is screened to see if the applicant meets the eligibility requirements. If the applicant is found to be eligible, the application is forwarded to the Office of Clemency Investigations, so the applicant’s cases can be investigated for further eligibility. If that process results in a finding that the applicant is ineligible, the Office of Executive Clemency will advise the applicant of the disqualifying issues and give guidance. If the investigative process does not disqualify the candidate, the application materials are forwarded to the Clemency Board for a decision. If the Clemency Board grants the application, the certificate of Restoration of Civil Rights will be mailed to the applicant. This entire process, including the application submittal, is free of charge and provided by the State of Florida.
Does Clemency Expunge or Seal My Criminal Record?
Unfortunately, clemency does not expunge, remove, or clear any criminal convictions from the record. Expunging and sealing can be achieved, however, by a different process.
How Can We Help?
Though Don Pumphrey and the members of the legal team at Pumphrey Law Firm do not assist in the clemency process, we can intervene prior to sentencing and represent you or a loved one in a criminal matter to ensure that your rights are zealously fought for. Call (850) 6811-7777 or send an online message today to discuss your rights during an open and free consultation with our legal team.
Attorney Don Pumphrey, Jr. is a former prosecutor, former law enforcement officer, and a successful and experienced criminal defense attorney. Don has achieved over 100 not guilty verdicts at trial and over 2,000 dismissals.