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Eligibility Requirements

Pardon or Commutation

To be eligible for a pardon or commutation, an applicant must meet all of the following requirements:

(1) The applicant must still be serving the sentence for the crime in question. Once a criminal sentence has been completed, an applicant may only apply for a pardon extraordinary after satisfying the required waiting period. 

(2) The application must concern a criminal conviction. In Minnesota, petty misdemeanors and juvenile delinquency adjudications are not considered crimes. Likewise, criminal charges that were dismissed or did not result in a conviction through a stay of adjudication, a diversion program, or deferral of prosecution are not criminal convictions. The Board also does not have the authority to grant relief from civil matters or penalties, such as tax liabilities, civil commitments, harassment restraining orders, civil forfeitures or fines, or the like. 

(3) The criminal conviction must have been imposed in Minnesota state court, not in federal court, other states, or foreign countries. 

(4) The applicant must not have been previously denied a pardon or commutation, including through exclusion of a prior pardon or commutation application. Prior applications that were simply deemed ineligible do not count. 

Pardon Extraordinary

To be eligible for a pardon extraordinary, a person must meet all of the following requirements:

(1) The applicant must have completed the relevant criminal sentence, including through discharge/expiration of probation or supervised release, and either meet the required waiting period or have received a waiver of the waiting period (see below for more information).    

(2) The application must concern a criminal conviction. In Minnesota, petty misdemeanors and juvenile delinquency adjudications are not considered crimes. Likewise, criminal charges that were dismissed or did not result in a conviction through a stay of adjudication, a diversion program, or deferral of prosecution are not criminal convictions. The Board also does not have the authority to grant relief from civil matters or penalties, such as tax liabilities, civil commitments, harassment restraining orders, civil forfeitures or fines, or the like. 

(3) The criminal conviction must have been imposed in Minnesota state court, not in federal court, other states, or foreign countries. 

(4) The applicant must not have been previously denied a pardon or commutation, including through exclusion of a prior pardon or commutation application. Prior applications that were simply deemed ineligible do not count. 

Waiting Period for Pardons Extraordinary

Generally speaking, persons are not eligible to apply for a pardon extraordinary until five years have passed since their most recent criminal sentence has expired, or ten years if they have been convicted of a felony "crime of violence" as defined in Minn. Stat. 624.712, subd. 5. Please note that felony drug convictions are considered "crimes of violence" under Minnesota law.  

(1) Persons who have not been convicted of a "crime of violence" may apply for a pardon extraordinary five years after the sentence expired or has been discharged. During that time, the person must not have been convicted of any other misdemeanor or felony offense. 

(2)  Persons who have been convicted of a "crime of violence," including a felony drug offense, may apply for a pardon extraordinary ten years after the sentence expired or has been discharged. During that time, the person must not have been convicted of any other misdemeanor or felony offense.

If a person commits a new crime during the waiting period, the waiting period is reset and starts over again from the time the sentence for the new crime has expired or been discharged. Typically, that means that the waiting period effectively runs from the expiration of person's most recent criminal sentence.  

Even though the Board only has jurisdiction over Minnesota criminal convictions, a conviction in any jurisdiction, including other states, will be considered in determining the waiting period. Non-criminal offenses, such as petty misdemeanors in Minnesota, do not affect the waiting period. The waiting period must be fully completed at the time you appear before the Board unless a waiver of the waiting period has been requested and granted.

Application for Rehearing

Once a pardon or commutation application has been heard and denied on the merits, a person cannot file another application until (1) they have first submitted an application for rehearing based on new and substantial information that was not previously considered by the Board, and (2) obtained the consent of at least to Board members to reapply for a pardon or commutation. 

Prior applications for pardons or commutations that have been excluded from a meeting agenda as undeserving of further review are deemed by the Board to have been considered and denied on the merits, as the Board members are notified of the exclusion decision and given an opportunity to disagree with that decision and direct that the application be placed on a meeting agenda for further consideration. Accordingly, if you have previously had an application for a pardon or commutation excluded from a meeting agenda for reasons other than ineligibility, you cannot simply reapply for a pardon or commutation. You must first submit an application for rehearing and obtain the Board's permission to reapply.   

Applications for rehearing are screened to determine whether they contain new and substantial information that was not previously considered by the Board and would warrant rehearing. Applications that satisfy this requirement are placed on a meeting agenda; the remainder are excluded from the agenda and effectively denied.  

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