For over 100 years, the President has relied on the Department of Justice, and particularly the Office of the Pardon Attorney, for assistance in the exercise of the executive clemency power granted to the President by Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution. Under the Constitution, the President’s clemency power extends only to federal criminal offenses. Executive clemency may take several forms, including pardon, commutation of sentence, remission of fine or restitution, or reprieve. All requests for executive clemency for federal offenses are directed to the Pardon Attorney for review, investigation, and preparation of the Department’s recommendation to the President, which is signed by the Deputy Attorney General, for the final dispositions of each application. The Office of the Pardon Attorney also prepares the documents the President signs when granting executive clemency and notifies all applicants of the President’s clemency decisions.
PUBLICLY AVAILABLE INFORMATION: A public notice is prepared for each case in which the President grants clemency, and the clemency warrant evidencing the grant is treated as a public record. Moreover, if a third party inquires about a specific, named person, the Office of the Pardon Attorney (OPA) will confirm whether that person has applied for clemency and whether clemency has been granted or denied. Further, as the result of a ruling by the federal courts of the District of Columbia in Lardner v. Department of Justice, 638 F.Supp.2d 14 (D.D.C. 2009), affirmed, Lardner v. United States Department of Justice, No. 09-5337, 2010 WL 4366062 (D.C. Cir. Oct. 28, 2010) (unpublished), OPA is obliged to release existing lists of the names of persons who have been denied executive clemency by the President to anyone who requests such records pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act.