Standards for Considering Pardon Petitions

This is just for reference and not a concession that the current residents of the White House have any standards:

“In general, a pardon is granted on the basis of the petitioner’s demonstrated good conduct for a substantial period of time after conviction and service of sentence. The Department’s regulations require a petitioner to wait a period of at least five years after conviction or release from confinement (whichever is later) before filing a pardon application (28 C.F.R. § 1.2). In determining whether a particular petitioner should be recommended for a pardon, the following are the principal factors taken into account.”

  1. Post-conviction conduct, character, and reputation.
  2. Seriousness and relative recentness of the offense.
  3. Acceptance of responsibility, remorse, and atonement.
  4. Need for relief.
  5. Official recommendations and reports.

Of course, the President can decline to take these factors into account and grant a pardon for any reason he chooses. Including to insure the loyalty and continued silence of a former staffer who knows where the bodies are buried.


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