Privacy Statement for Commutation of Sentence

To Applicants for Commutation of Sentence

The following notice is provided pursuant to the Privacy Act of 1974 to help you to understand what is involved in petitioning for executive clemency and why we need to obtain certain information about you.

The information that we request from you on the accompanying commutation of sentence application form, and in the event of a background investigation, is needed to help provide the basis for an informed judgment about whether you should be granted clemency. This is our only purpose in asking you to complete and sign the application. You are under no obligation to furnish any information. However, if you do not provide all the information requested, we may be unable to process your application. Failure to provide your Social Security number will not prejudice your case.

Our authority for requesting the information solicited in the accompanying commutation of sentence application form is the United States Constitution, Article II, Section 2 (the pardon clause); Orders of the Attorney General Nos. 1798-93, 58 Fed. Reg. 53658 and 53659 (1993), 2317-2000, 65 Fed. Reg. 48381 (2000), and 2323-2000, 65 Fed. Reg. 58223 and 58224 (2000), codified in 28 C.F.R. §§ 1.1 et seq. (the rules governing petitions for executive clemency); and Order of the Attorney General No. 1012-83, 48 Fed. Reg. 22290 (1983), as codified in 28 C.F.R. §§ 0.35 and 0.36 (the authority of the Office of the Pardon Attorney).

After the President has taken favorable final action on an application, a public affairs notice is prepared describing each grant of clemency (such a notice also may be prepared for a denial of clemency in cases of substantial public interest). A copy of each warrant of clemency is maintained in this office as a public and official record. Copies of the public affairs notices, clemency warrants, and lists of recent clemency recipients are routinely made available to the public upon request.

Executive clemency files are compiled and maintained to assist the President in exercising his constitutional clemency power and are routinely made available to him, members of his staff, and other government officials concerned with clemency proceedings. The Pardon Attorney may disclose the contents of executive clemency files when the disclosure is required by law or the ends of justice. On the other hand, non-public documents that may be compiled in the course of processing a clemency application, such as the petition and supporting documents, the presentence investigation report, the results of any federal background investigation, and the recommendation of the Department of Justice, are not generally available under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts.  However, pursuant to long-standing policy, this office would, if asked, confirm that a specific individual has applied for or was granted or denied clemency.

The foregoing rules apply to the disclosure of documents in the possession of the Department of Justice. However, the President and his immediate staff are not subject to the constraints of the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts. Accordingly, while clemency-related documents in the possession of the White House traditionally have not been made public, they may be legally disclosed at the discretion of the President. In addition, clemency-related documents retained by the White House at the end of a presidential administration will become part of the President's official library, where they become subject to the disclosure provisions of the Presidential Records Act.

Moreover, in accordance with the ruling by the federal court 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), the Office of the Pardon Attorney 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.  Given the frequency of such requests, the Office of the Pardon Attorney has started to proactively disclose the names of persons who have been denied executive clemency by the President on our website, in accordance with our Freedom of Information Act obligations.

Commutation Information and Instructions

Commutation Application

Financial Statement of Debtor Form
The Department recognizes that this form may not be in an accessible format. If you have a disability and the format of any material on the site interferes with your ability to access some information, please contact the Office of the Pardon Attorney at 202-616-6070.

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Updated April 27, 2017

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