Minnesota Department of Corrections
AUTHORITY: Minn. Stat. §638.
Minn. Rules Ch. 6600.
PURPOSE: To establish procedures for processing applications for relief from the Board of Pardons.
POLICY: The Director of the Policy and Legal Services Unit is the commissioner’s designee as secretary to the Board of Pardons and is responsible for providing staff support to the board.
Commutation - an act of clemency in which a lesser sentence is substituted for the original sentence but the conviction remains.
Pardon - an act of clemency that nullifies the conviction, frees the offender and removes all disabilities associated with the conviction.
Pardon Extraordinary - a statutorily created form of clemency that relieves the recipient of the obligation to report a conviction but does not expunge the record of the conviction.
A. Initial Screening: The Policy and Legal Services staff will screen all potential applicants to determine whether the individuals meet statutory eligibility criteria for relief before sending application forms.
B. Investigation: Once an application is received, the information on the application will be verified and staff will, at a minimum,
1. conduct a criminal history check in Minnesota and throughout the nationwide information system;
2. contact the victim of the offense; and
3. contact the prosecuting attorney and the judge who handled the case.
C. Preparation for Meetings
1. Rejected applications: If the information obtained in the investigation reveals that the applicant is not eligible for the relief, the applicant will be informed that the application cannot be presented to the board and the reason(s) why the applicant is not eligible.
2. Applications placed on the calendar: After the investigation is completed, if the applicant is eligible to be considered for relief, staff will prepare a case summary of the case. The case summaries will be submitted to the members of the board at least two weeks before the scheduled meeting.
D. Required Notifications
Notice of application: Staff will arrange for the publication of notices concerning all applications for pardons extraordinary to be considered at each meeting in the official newspaper of the county of conviction at least two weeks before the date of the scheduled meeting.
E. Follow-up From Meetings
1. Staff will send letters confirming the decisions of the board to all applicants whose cases were considered by the board within two weeks of the meeting.
2. Staff will prepare a certificate for each applicant granted relief and will route them to the members of the board for signature.
3. Staff will send copies of the certificates and proposed orders to the court administrators for each conviction that is set aside by the board and will instruct the court administrator to add a copy of each to the court file.
4. After the signed orders are returned from the court administrators, staff will notify the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension that the relief has been granted so that the criminal history of applicants can be updated.
REFERENCES: Minn. Stat. §624.712, subd. 5.
SUPERSESSION: Department Policy 106.010, “Board of Pardons,” 11/16/98.
All facility policies, memos, or other communications whether verbal, written, or
transmitted by electronic means regarding this topic.
Dennis L. Benson