VELD  LAW

Law Offices of Kristina Wildeveld
Pardons
The Board of Pardons, in its discretion, reviews pardon applications and then determines whether they will grant a hearing for the individual. The Board of Pardons does not disclose its criteria for granting hearings or granting pardons. However, the Board of Pardons does disclose some guidance on the factors considered in their determination. When determining whether clemency should be granted for pardon applicants, the Board of Pardons may treat each case individually and weigh the actual case specific factors of the underlying crime against the overall application. Some of the publicly listed factors:

Pardon:

  • Time elapsed since completion of sentencing requirements.
  • Fulfillment of all sentencing requirements, including fines and costs.
  • Positive life changes.
  • Compelling need for the Pardon.
  • Impact on the victim.

Commutation of Sentence:

  • Appeals exhausted.
  • Status of parole.
  • How much time has been served.
  • Status and resolution of misconducts, if any.
  • Work record while in custody and completiton of programs.
  • Impact on the victim.



What a Pardon does:
  • An unconditional pardon removes all disabilities resulting from conviction thereof.
  • A Pardon forgives but does not forget.
  • A Pardon is the only instrument available to restore one’s right to bear arms in Nevada.
  • A Pardon does NOT:.
  • A Pardon does not overturn a judgment of conviction.

  • A Pardon does not erase or obliterate the fact that one was once convicted of a crime.

  • A Pardon does not substitute a good reputation for one that is bad.

  • A Pardon does not relieve a convicted sex offender of the requirement to register as such.

  • A Pardon does not attest to rehabilitation of a person.

  • With regard to occupational licensing, where a statute limits rights based on the underlying conduct and not the pardoned offense itself, a pardon would not remove or erase the disability of past conduct. If there is a requirement that the license applicant has not been convicted of a felony, the pardon would permit licensing. However, if the licensing standard is good moral character, the pardon does not erase the moral guilt associated with the commission of a criminal offense and the fact giving rise to that conviction may be considered in determining whether that person is of "good moral character."

  • A Pardon does not remove any disabilities resulting from separate convictions that are not specified on the instrument of Pardon (ie, being pardoned on one offense but not another would not remove disabilities from the offense not pardoned).

  • The Nevada Pardons Board does not have the authority to restore any rights lost as a result of a conviction in a jurisdiction outside of Nevada.


  • There are two primary distinctions between the power to pardon under the
    United States Constitution and under the Nevada Constitution. First, the United States
    Constitution grants the power to pardon to the President, while the Nevada Constitution
    grants the power to the Governor, who must act in concert with the justices of the
    Nevada Supreme Court and the Nevada Attorney General, pursuant to Article 5,
    Section 14 of the Nevada Constitution. Several states, including Nevada, did not want
    to confer authority to pardon on the Governor alone. Further, the President may pardon
    a person either before or after he is convicted, but the Pardons Board may only pardon
    a person after he is convicted. However, both the President and the Pardons Board
    may impose such conditions, limitations, and restrictions on pardons as they deem
    appropriate. Article 5, section 14 of the Nevada Constitution provides:
    The governor, justices of the supreme court, and attorney
    general, or a major part of them, of whom the governor shall
    be one, may upon such conditions and with such limitations
    and restrictions as they may think proper, remit fines and
    forfeitures, commute punishments . . . and grant pardons,
    after convictions, in all cases, except treason and
    impeachments, subject to such regulations as may be
    provided by law, relative to the manner of applying for
    pardons. [Emphasis added.]
    Absent special authorization by the Nevada Constitution, the Legislature may not
    change, alter, or modify the constitutional powers of the Pardons Board. King v. The
    Board of Regents, 65 Nev. 533, 546, 200 P.2d 221, 227 (1948). As for the President,
    “[t]o the executive alone is intrusted the power of pardon; and it is granted without limit.
    . . . [A pardon] may be granted on conditions.” United States v. Klein, 80 U.S. 128, 147
    (1871).
    The plain purpose of the broad [pardon] power conferred by
    § 2, cl. 1 [U.S. Const. Art. II, § 2, cl. 1], was to allow plenary
    authority in the President to “forgive” the convicted person in
    part or entirely, to reduce a penalty in terms of a specified
    number of years, or to alter it with conditions which are in
    themselves constitutionally unobjectionable.
    Schick v. Reed, 419 U.S. at 266. That power permits “the attachment of any condition
    which does not otherwise offend the Constitution.” Id. “[I]t is clear that the legislature
    cannot change the effect of . . . a pardon any more than the executive can change a
    law.” United States v. Klein, 80 U.S. at 148.

    The different kinds of pardons are general, special or
    particular, conditional or absolute, statutory, not necessary in
    some cases, and in some grantable of course. An absolute
    pardon is a permanent and complete termination of penalty
    and remission of guilt.
    A pardon is conditional when it is granted upon certain
    specified conditions. It may be granted either on a condition
    precedent, becoming operative when, and not until, the
    grantee has performed the designated act, or on a condition
    subsequent, in which case the pardon will take effect, so far
    as concerns the person of the grantee, as soon as it is
    delivered and accepted, but will become null and void upon
    the violation by the grantee of any of the specified terms or
    conditions.
    59 AM. JUR. 2D Pardon and Parole § 2 (2003) (footnote omitted).

    In 1880 the Nevada Supreme Court noted that the legal authorities
    were uniform as to the effect of a full and unconditional pardon, holding that such
    pardons remove all disabilities resulting from a criminal conviction. See State of
    Nevada v. Foley, 15 Nev. 64, 67 (1880).
    [T]he effect of a full pardon “is to make the offender a new
    man; to acquit him of all corporal penalties and forfeitures
    annexed to the offense for which he obtains his pardon, and
    not so much to restore his former, as to give him a new
    credit and capacity.”

    Assembly Bill 55, Act of June 11, 2003, ch.
    447, § 13, 2003 Nev. Stat. 447 (effective July 1, 2003):
    1. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2, a person
    who is granted a pardon for any offense committed:
    (a) Is immediately restored to the following civil rights:
    (1) The right to vote; and
    (2) The right to serve as a juror in a civil action.
    (b) Four years after the date that his pardon is granted, is
    restored to the right to hold office.
    (c) Six years after the date that his pardon is granted, is
    restored to the right to serve as a juror in a criminal action.
    2. Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the civil
    rights set forth in subsection 1 are not restored to a person
    who has been granted a pardon if the person has previously
    been convicted in this state:
    (a) Of a category A felony.
    (b) Of an offense that would constitute a category A felony
    if committed as of the date that his pardon is granted.
    (c) Of a category B felony involving the use of force or
    violence that resulted in substantial bodily harm to the victim.
    (d) Of an offense involving the use of force or violence that
    resulted in substantial bodily harm to the victim and that
    would constitute a category B felony if committed as of the
    date that his pardon is granted.
    (e) Two or more times of a felony, unless a felony for which
    the person has been convicted arose out of the same act,
    transaction or occurrence as another felony, in which case
    the convictions for those felonies shall be deemed to
    constitute a single conviction for the purposes of this
    paragraph.
    A person described in this subsection may petition the
    court in which the person was convicted for an order
    granting the restoration of his civil rights as set forth in
    subsection 1.
    3. Except for a person subject to the limitations set forth in
    subsection 2, upon receiving a pardon, a person so
    pardoned must be given an official document which
    provides:
    (a) That he has been granted a pardon;
    (b) That he has been restored to his civil rights to vote and
    to serve as a juror in a civil action as of the date that his
    pardon is granted;
    (c) The date on which his civil right to hold office will be
    restored to him pursuant to paragraph (b) of subsection 1;
    and
    (d) The date on which his civil right to serve as a juror in a
    criminal action will be restored to him pursuant to paragraph
    (c) of subsection 1.
    4. Subject to the limitations set forth in subsection 2, a
    person who has been granted a pardon in this state or
    elsewhere and whose official documentation of his pardon is
    lost, damaged or destroyed may file a written request with a
    court of competent jurisdiction to restore his civil rights
    pursuant to this section. Upon verification that the person
    has been granted a pardon and is eligible to be restored to
    the civil rights set forth in subsection 1, the court shall issue
    an order restoring the person to the civil rights set forth in
    subsection 1. A person must not be required to pay a fee to
    receive such an order.
    5. A person who has been granted a pardon in this state or
    elsewhere may present:
    (a) Official documentation of his pardon, if it contains the
    provisions set forth in subsection 3; or
    (b) A court order restoring his civil rights,
    as proof that he has been restored to the civil rights set forth
    in subsection 1.

    provided by the Attorney General's Office, Nov 18 2003.
    Nevada Board of Pardons Commissioners
    http://www.pardons.nv.gov/