Traditional Pardon

The "traditional" Governor's Pardon (GP) is available to those persons who are not otherwise eligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation (COR). See California Constitution Article 5, §8.

The GP procedure is used primarily by those who were convicted of a criminal offense in California but who now reside in a foreign jurisdiction (e.g. another state, territory or possession of the United States, or a foreign country), or who have been convicted of a criminal offense which cannot, by operation of law, be discharged by the issuance of a COR.

The GP procedure is covered by Penal Code §§ 4800 through 4813, inclusive.

Applicant's desiring to apply for a GP must either obtain the necessary application package from the Governor's Office or electronically access, complete and print the application from the Shasta County Public Defender's Internet web site.

The applicant must complete the Application for Executive Clemency (i.e. GP) form and return it to the Governor's Office. In addition, the applicant must send Notice of Intention to Apply for Executive Clemency to the district attorney of each county wherein a conviction occurred at least ten (10) days before the Governor can consider the application itself. See Penal Code §4804.

When the Governor's Office receives the application for pardon and it appears that a pardon may be warranted, the application will be sent to the Board of Prison terms for investigation. After the investigation, the case is presented to the Board for a recommendation to the Governor whether a pardon should be granted. The applicant is notified when the Board will consider his or her application for pardon, and is given the opportunity to forward any additional information. The Board's recommendation is sent to the Governor where, again, the applicant is notified.

If the applicant has more than one felony conviction that occurred in separate proceedings, the California Supreme Court must first approve, by a vote of four (4) justices, the granting of a GP. As with those who apply by way of a COR, there is no requirement that the Governor actually issue a pardon. However, notwithstanding the Governor's wide degree of discretion on whether to grant a pardon, the Governor cannot deny a pardon based on a discriminatory purpose (e.g. race, gender, sex, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or any other "protected" class).

The length of time needed for the completion of the pardon process cannot be predicted.

No fee is charged for applying for a pardon.

Governor's Office
California State Capitol
Attention: Legal Affairs Secretary
Sacramento, California 95814

Source: Office of the Governor, Legal Affairs Secretary, California; California Constitution; Penal Code