How to Get a Governor's Pardon in Pennsylvania

By Stanley Washington
Pennsylvania's governor can accept or reject the parole board's recommendation.

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As mandated by its constitution, Pennsylvania has a five-member pardon board; it includes the state's lieutenant governor as its chairman. Under its constitution, anyone who's been convicted of a crime in Pennsylvania can petition the board for a pardon. The pardon process is very long but, ultimately, worth it; without a pardon, which is the only way to remove a past conviction from your record, getting a job will be extremely difficult.

Send a letter to the board of pardons. The letter should request an application for a hearing. A sample letter can be found online (see Resources). Mail the letter with an $8 money order, cashier's check or certified check payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and a self-addressed envelope with proper postage, to:

Board of Pardons 333 Market Street, 15th Floor Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333

Fill out the pardon application. Review the application, answer all questions and provide the necessary documentation. The application will ask you to discuss specific details of the crime.

Be interviewed by a state parole agent at your home. The agent will determine if you're a responsible and contributing member of society. Answer all questions asked by the parole agent.

Wait up to one year. The pardon board will review your application and all information concerning your case. It will then decide if you should be granted a hearing.

Attend the hearing. Hearings are held in Harrisburg and last around 15 minutes. You may have an attorney speak on your behalf; an attorney is not mandatory, however. You'll be asked about your level of remorse and why you want a pardon. Answer all the board's questions.

Gain a recommendation for a pardon from at least three board members. The pardon request will be sent to the governor for review.

Receive a signed letter from the governor. The governor can accept or deny the pardon board's recommendation. The final judgment can take up to one year.

Travel to the clerk of the court in the county where the crime occurred and request an expungement. A judge will follow the governor's order and all records of your crime will be erased.

About the Author

Based out of Florida, Stanley Washington has been writing since 2007. He has contributed to the "Orlando Sentinel" as well as various online publications. Washington is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Central Florida.

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