One of the most well-known forms of clemency is called a pardon, however other examples include amnesty, reprieves, and commuted sentences. “Commutation of sentence” is another rare form of clemency that reduces a prisoner’s punishment for a crime. Most often, a commuted sentence is applied as a reduced prison term.
Commutation of Sentence
Only the President of the United States has the power to commute federal sentences, however, in many states the governor can commute a sentence. Neither legislative nor judicial branches can interfere or override the commutation of a sentence. Since commutation of sentence is a type of pardoning power, it is often assumed that a commuted sentences the same thing as a criminal pardon. But there are actually many differences between the two types of reduced criminal sentencing.
Pardons vs. Commuted Sentences:
⚖ Pardons forgive a defendant for their crime. Commutations merely reduce the punishment for a crime.
⚖ Pardons must be accepted by defendants. Some states do not require a defendant’s consent to commute their sentence.
⚖ Pardons restore a defendant’s civil rights that were lost upon criminal conviction. A commuted sentence does not.
⚖ Pardons are handed down for various other reasons, generally political. Commuted sentences are generally earned for good behavior.
The limits and applications to commuted sentences vary among states. For instance, some states do require defendants to consent to or accept a commuted sentence. Also, in many states, the government cannot revoke a commutation of sentence unless it was somehow attained fraudulently or by clerical error. And in almost all states, a commutation of sentence is granted on a conditional basis, meaning it comes with mandatory conditions that defendants must abide by.
Since the laws and procedures for commuted sentences vary among states, it is important to get proficient legal representation to learn your rights to a reduced criminal sentence. You need an Indianapolis criminal defense attorney with extensive trial and litigation experience. Choose attorney David E. Lewis for aggressive and skilled criminal defense in Indiana.