Overseeing all of Delaware's Pardons, Reprieves, Commutations of Sentence, and Executive Clemency.
What are the differences between a pardon, commutation, and an expungement?
A pardon is an act of executive grace that completely eliminates all consequences of a conviction. However, a pardon does not remove the record of conviction. A pardon removes any further punishment and restores civil rights. A pardon does not remove the historical fact of the conviction from the state’s official arrest and conviction records; it simply adds to the record that a pardon has been granted.
A commutation is a reduction of sentence for a person who is currently incarcerated. A commutation does not eliminate the consequences of a conviction but only reduces the time served or changes the terms of release specified in the initial sentence.
An expungement completely removes the history of the charge(s) from an individual’s record. Normally, an expungement can be granted if an individual is acquitted of a charge, a nolle prosequi is taken, or the charge is otherwise dismissed. However, under 11 Del. Code. § 4374 some convictions may be expunged at the discretion of a Superior Court and/or Family Court judge. If an applicant has a conviction and wishes to have it expunged, the conviction must qualify under the Delaware code and a pardon of the conviction must first be granted. If the above conditions have been met, an applicant is then eligible to apply for an expungement.