Culture and Society

What kinds of pardons can a President make?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. Presidential pardons can either commute a sentence or grant a full pardon. Commuting a sentence means reducing it once it has begun, or even before it has begun. A full pardon restores civic liberties (such as the right to vote, or serve on a jury) that were taken away, so the legal status of the offender is exactly what it was before the offense. A conditional pardon exacts something from the offender in exchange for the pardon, such as a promise to stay away from political rebellion. Meanwhile, an act of remission removes a fine or legal obligation that results from a federal case, and a respite buys time during a court action or sentencing, giving the offender more time to be granted a pardon or stay of execution. The ability to perform these acts of clemency has been granted to the president alone.

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