THE OREGON PARDON POWER: SIMPLE PROCESS, DIFFICULT RESULT
The Oregon Constitution gives the Governor the sole power to grant a pardon to a person convicted of a crime in Oregon. Oregon law details how a person can apply to the Governor for a pardon. It is a relatively simple process. However, granting a pardon is not the norm.
To apply for a pardon, you need to fill out the Executive Clemency Application, found here, or create your own application that contains the same information. The application requires information such as your name and address, what crime you were convicted of and the circumstances of that crime, as well as the reasons you believe the Governor should grant you a pardon.
Once the application is filled out, you must serve a copy of the application on the district attorney of the county where you were convicted, the district attorney of the county in which your correctional facility is located (if you are currently in jail), the State Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision, and the Director of the Department of Corrections. You must also provide proof of service by affidavit to the Governor.
When the application is received, the Governor may seek other information, such as a statement from the victim or victim’s family, or a statement from the district attorney. The Governor has 180 days to make a decision of whether to pardon. However, if 180 days pass without a decision, the application will not be considered and the process starts over again with a new application. This is what makes receiving a pardon so difficult—it is solely within the judgment of the Governor, who does not have to follow the time limits. Further, if the Governor does not agree with the reasons you submit and denies the application, there is no appeal process. On the other hand, if you do not qualify for expungement, getting a pardon is the way to proceed.
If you wish to pursue a Governor’s pardon, this is the process that must be followed. Our office can help.