Commutation of sentence
Commutation of sentence involves the reduction of legal penalties, especially in terms of imprisonment. Unlike a pardon, a commutation does not nullify the conviction and is often conditional. Clemency is a similar term, meaning the lessening of the penalty of the crime without forgiving the crime itself. The act of clemency is a reprieve. Today, pardons and reprieves are granted in many countries when individuals have demonstrated that they have fulfilled their debt to society, or are otherwise deserving (in the opinion of the pardoning official) of a pardon or reprieve.
In the United States, reduction of a sentence is handled by an executive head of government and is normally linked to prisoners' good behavior. The President of the United States solely holds the power to commute federal sentences while commutations of state charges are handled by the governor's office.
Around the world, countries accord their head of state or other competent authority with the power to issue a pardon or reduce a sentence either in consultation with other parts of the government or unilaterally.
- Legal Explanations Commutation Retrieved on April 21, 2007
- Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution Power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States Retrieved on July 9, 2007
- U.S. Department of Justice Commutation Instructions Retrieved on July 3, 2007
- US Department of Justice pardon and commutation statistics by presidential administration (1945-2001)
- US Department of Justice instructions for submitting a commutation of sentence
- New York Times – Bush Commutes Libby Prison Sentence
- New York Times – President Clinton's 2001 defense of his pardons and commutations before he left office.
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