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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. Except as otherwise provided by the Delaware Constitution, or expressly by any provision of the Delaware Code or any court rule, an unconditional pardon fully restores all civil rights to the person pardoned. Such civil rights include, but are not limited to, the right to vote, the right to serve on a jury if selected, the right to purchase or possess deadly weapons, and the right to seek and hold public office. 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. Please be advised that the Governor has the authority to place lawful conditions upon the granting of a pardon. To remove the historical fact of a conviction, you may be able to apply for an expungement after a pardon has been granted for the conviction.
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. § 4371 – 4375 some convictions may be expunged. If an applicant has a conviction and wishes to have it expunged, the conviction must qualify under the Delaware code or 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.