Orlando Clemency Lawyer

The process you went through from the initial arrest to your incarceration may have been a long one filled with various emotions. When you were arrested and brought in for the first time, you were only suspected of committing a crime. As you met with your criminal defense lawyer, you were made aware of possible defenses and the potential penalties you could face if convicted, but you were confident that it wouldn’t have to come down to that. Your trial comes and goes and the final judgment is handed down. You may have entered the courthouse as a suspect but you left as a convicted felon sentenced to life in prison. To you, this feels like the end, but it is vital that you are aware of your legal options for possibly shortening your sentence.

Many people faced with the prospects of living life as a convicted felon, choose to stop trying after a conviction, but keeping hope alive can work to your benefit. Reach out to an Orlando clemency lawyer to discover how you may be able to benefit from executive clemency, including from Rule 17. Our team boasts over 100 years of combined experience and time spent as prosecutors on the state and local level.

What is Clemency in Florida?

Clemency is the act of extending mercy to a convicted individual by an executive member of government. The governor can grant clemency for state crimes while the president is the only person who can grant clemency for federal crimes. For individuals who may be facing the death penalty, clemency can be the difference between life and death. Clemency can be granted for various reasons including doubt of guilt and — in murder cases — as a result of pleas from the victim’s family. Clemency can come in one of the following three forms:

Reprieves

A reprieve is the temporary suspension of a sentence which can occur for multiple reasons. In the past, they have come as a result of overcrowded prisons or other extenuating circumstances. In regards to individuals facing the death penalty, a reprieve can put off the carrying out of the sentence to reconsider if it is necessary in that case specifically.

Commutation

Commutation can truncate the term of a sentence and is determined by the commissioner of corrections instead of the governor. A key example of commutation is an individual who was originally sentenced to life in prison having his or her term altered to a specific number of years. Commutation commonly comes as a result of good behavior and likelihood to fully rehabilitate, otherwise known as serving “good time.”

Pardons

A granted pardon results in the convicted person’s crime and penalty being forgiven. The head of state or governor will often grant a pardon when he or she believes the incarcerated individual has fulfilled his or her debt to society or is worthy of forgiveness for any other reason. A pardon will not erase the conviction from the individual’s record, but it may lift some disqualifications attached to the conviction.

Determining Clemency Eligibility in Florida

As you may assume, clemency is not something just anyone can get granted.  Only a handful of people are given this opportunity out of the numerous applicants. The Department evaluates the following five factors in determining whether or not an individual should be granted clemency:

  • Post-conviction conduct, character, and reputation
  • Seriousness and relative recentness of the offense
  • Acceptance of responsibility, remorse, and atonement
  • Need for Relief
  • Official recommendations and reports

Those found to be in the best standing will likely be granted clemency. However, it is difficult to achieve this without the help of an aggressive and passionate clemency attorney relentlessly advocating for your freedom. Improve the chances of having your clemency application approved by securing legal representation from an Orlando clemency lawyer at The Umansky Law Firm.

When Can Someone Apply for a Pardon?

Not everyone convicted of a crime can apply for clemency. The Florida Clemency Board will not consider appeals in all situations and for every crime. While in some situations, Orlando residents can apply for clemency before a conviction has even occurred, people usually apply for clemency after a conviction, and they need to comply with specific rules relating to their conviction.

Applicants must take certain actions and wait for the prescribed waiting periods. Most applicants seeking clemency after a felony conviction need to have fully completed all the terms of their sentences as well as their full period of supervision, parole, and probation. Many applicants must wait until ten years after the completion of their felony conviction sentence. In addition, the applicant must have no outstanding warrants or other pending criminal charges or detainers. They must also pay most outstanding fines and restitutions to victims of their alleged crimes, pursuant to court orders and civil judgments.

If an applicant fails to comply with all of the rules, the board can refuse to put their application for clemency on its official agenda. If the board denies clemency to an applicant, the applicant needs to wait for a certain period before reapplying. Experienced Orlando attorneys could help an applicant meet the precise procedural requirements to ensure they are in full compliance.

Waiting Time for Clemency Hearings

In most situations, it can take a long time for the Office of Executive Clemency to fully review and decide on a petitioner’s application, often creating a backlog. Initial evaluations of applications can take several months, and then it can take several years for the board to complete their review of each application and issue an answer to the applicant.

How Does Rule 17 Change a Clemency Application?

Rule 17 is a procedural regulation that can significantly change the timeframe of a clemency application. Rule 17 states that, in applications of “exceptional merit,” a clemency board member can prioritize a case by placing it onto an upcoming board agenda for consideration. The state’s governor or any cabinet member on the clemency board can invoke Rule 17 and move up the timing of a potential clemency application. Although many people may wish to speed up their clemency hearing, only the governor or the board members can use Rule 17 to prioritize an application. To have success under this exception, a petitioner needs to gain the support of someone on the board who will champion their cause and put their application on the board’s agenda.

Because Rule 17 has not been frequently used by the clemency board, it can be difficult to try to proceed in this manner. If someone might have a case that qualifies for this exception because they feel they have a case of “exceptional merit,” they should meet with a knowledgeable Orlando attorney who could offer them guidance and advice on how to proceed with Rule 17 on clemency. A skilled attorney could instruct them on how to appeal to the governor or a board member for assistance.

Contact Our Orlando Clemency Attorneys Today

Clemency can be most beneficial to those who believe they were harshly punished for their crimes. The Orlando clemency attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm can seek a reduction in your sentence and help prevent you from having to endure especially harsh penalties. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. We are ready to provide you with the legal representation you require.

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