To obtain a pardon, your application must advance through every stage of the pardoning process. However, getting through this process without encountering setbacks, like your application being denied, is easier said than done. This is why Pennsylvania residents with convictions on their record and wish to start anew, should consult with an attorney. From the submission of an application to your appearance at the final hearing, a legal professional will be able to impart useful advice and share their knowledge of state's pardoning system to help you obtain one.
The part of the process that many applicants do not pass is the hearing process. People who have gotten to this stage of the process have endured a lot. They've been through an investigation, been interviewed by a state parole agent, and have had their case dissected and analyzed numerous times by the Board of Pardons. These decisions to advance your application were solely based on the board members perceptions of you, and your potential to be a law-abiding citizen post-conviction. But hearings, which are held in the Supreme Court Courtroom in Harrisburg, are intended to give you a chance to tell your story.
In a hearing you, and someone who supports you will be given the chance to present in an effort to convince the board that you are a responsible citizen who contributes to society. You will only be given 15 minutes to verbalize why you need a pardon, so you can't elaborate on every detail of your experience. A legal professional will help you focus on the points that are the most important and will be effective when presented to the board. Board members have been known to ask questions to clarify facts of your case or to challenge if you've really been rehabilitated.
The Public Vote
After the hearing, the board will meet up in an executive session, where they will convene to make a public vote. In this vote, majority rules. If at least three board members approve of your application, it will be sent to the Governor for further review. Using his discretion, he can approve or disapprove any recommendation of the board.
If less than three board members approve, your application will be denied. Applicants must wait one whole year from a denial to reapply. Subsequent denials result in a two-year wait from the latest decision to reapply for a pardon. Applicants have the option of requesting the reconsideration of a decision made by the board. However, there must be a reasonable justification in order for this request to granted.
Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney
A hearing is one of the most important stages of the pardoning process, and should not be taken lightly. With the help of a legal professional, you will be able to deliver a presentation that is effective. Skilled attorney Joseph D. Lento has represented people in a number of criminal cases, ranging from misdemeanors to felonies, so he understands the stigma and legal liability that come along with having a criminal record. Contact him today.