Applicable Form of Executive Clemency: Commutation of Sentence
Eligibility: Any offender sentenced to life may not apply until he or she has served 15 years from the date of sentence, unless the offender has sufficient evidence which would have caused him or her to have been found not guilty. Some inmates may be temporarily restricted due to time restraints placed on reapplying.
Application Process: Requests for full applications and supporting documents can be directed to:
Louisiana Board of Pardons
Department of Public Safety and Corrections
P.O. Box 94304
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9304
Tel: (225) 342-5421
The clemency application is also available online here.
Every application must be submitted on the form approved by the Board of Pardons and must contain the following information about the applicant:
- Prison number [Department of Corrections (DOC #) document number]
- Date of birth
- Race and sex
- Education (highest level completed)
- Age at time of offense
- Present age
- Offender class
- Place of incarceration
- Parish of conviction/judicial district/court docket number
- Offense(s) charged, convicted of or plead to
- Parish where offense(s) committed
- Date of sentencing
- Length of sentence
- Time served
- Prior parole or probation
- When and how parole or probation completed
- Prior clemency hearing/recommendation/approval
- Reason for requesting clemency
- Relief request
- Narrative detailing the events surrounding the offense(s)
- Institutional disciplinary reports, number within the last twelve months, nature and date of the last violation, and custody status
In addition to the information submitted by application, the following documents must be attached as they apply to the applicant:
- Applicants confined in any institution must attach a current master prison record and time computation/jail credit work sheet, and have the signature of a classification officer verifying the conduct of the applicant as set out in the aforementioned institutional disciplinary reports and a copy of the conduct report.
- Applicants who have received an Automatic First Offender Pardon must attach a copy of the Automatic First Offender Pardon.
The application shall be signed and dated by applicant and shall contain a prison or mailing address and home address.
An application must be completed; if any required information does not apply, the response should be "NA".
No additional information or documents may be submitted until applicant has been notified that he/she will be given a hearing. The Board of Pardons will not be responsible for items submitted prior to notification that a hearing will be granted.
Any completed application will be considered for hearing by the Board on the first Tuesday of each month. Should the first Tuesday fall on a legal holiday the Board will meet the following Tuesday. The Board shall also meet at the discretion of the Chairman to transact other business as deemed necessary.
Applications must be received in the Board of Pardons office by the 15th of the month to be placed on the docket for consideration the following month.
Four members of the Board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, and all actions of the Board shall require the favorable vote of at least four members of the Board.
No application will be considered by the Board until it deems the application to be complete in accordance with the rules and procedures in this chapter.
Discretionary Powers of the Board
The Board of Pardons at its discretion may deny any applicant a hearing for any of the following reasons:
- Serious nature of the offense
- Insufficient time served on sentence
- Proximity of parole/good time date
- Institutional disciplinary reports
- Past criminal record
- Any other factor determined by the board
Any applicant denied shall be notified in writing of the reason(s) for denial and thereafter may file a new application two years from the date of the letter of denial.
Any fraudulent documents or information submitted by applicant will result in an automatic denial by the Board and no new application will be accepted until four years have elapsed from the date of the letter of denial.
Contact with the Board of Pardons and Members Prohibited
Contact with the Board of Pardons or any member is prohibited except by appearing/testifying at a public hearing or by written letter addressed to the Board of Pardons. If a Board Member is improperly contacted, he/she must immediately notify the individual that the contact is illegal. The letter must be accompanied by a copy of R.S. 15:573.1, and the contact must be reported to the other Board Members. Any prohibited contact after an individual has been informed of the prohibition shall be fined not more than $500 or imprisoned for not more than six months or both.
Public Inspection of Letters
Letters in favor of commutation of sentence are subject to public inspection. Exceptions include letters from any victim of a crime committed by the applicant being considered for commutation of sentence or any person writing on behalf of the victim, and any letters written in opposition to the commutation of sentence. All letters written by elected or appointed public officials in favor of or opposing a commutation of sentence received after August 15, 1997 are subject to public inspection and shall be recorded in a central register maintained by the Board. The register shall contain the name of the individual whose commutation of sentence is the subject of the letter, the name of the public official who is the author of the letter, and the date the letter was received by the Board.
After notice to an applicant that a hearing has been granted, the applicant must provide the Board of Pardons office with proof of advertisement within ninety (90) days from the date of notice to grant a hearing. Advertisement must be published in the official journal of the parish where the offense occurred. This ad must state: "I, (applicant's name), (document number - Department of Correction number), (state), have applied for clemency for my conviction for (crime) which occurred (day/month/year), in (parish/county), (state). If you have any comments or wish to communicate with the Board of Pardons please call (225) 342-5421." The advertisement must be published for three (3) days within a thirty (30) day period without cost to the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, Corrections Services, or the Board of Pardons.
Applicant may submit additional information, e.g. letters of recommendation and copies of certificates of achievement and employment/residence agreement.
Notice of Public Hearing Dates
After receipt of all documents required, the Board shall set the matter for public hearing. At least thirty days prior to the public hearing date, the Board shall give written notice of the date, time and place to the following:
- The district attorney and sheriff of the parish in which the applicant was convicted; and in New Orleans parish, the superintendent of police
- The applicant
- The victim who has been physically or psychologically injured by the applicant (if convicted of that offense), and the victim's spouse or next of kin, unless the injured victim's spouse or next of kin advises the Board, in writing, that such notification is not desired
- The spouse or next of kin of a deceased victim when the offender responsible for the death is the applicant (if convicted of that offense), unless the spouse or next of kin advises the Board, in writing, that such notification is not desired
- The Crime Victims Services Bureau of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections
- Any other interested person who requests in writing to the Board of Pardons that they be notified who provides their name and return address
The district attorney, injured victim, spouse or next of kin, and any other persons who desire to do so shall be given a reasonable opportunity to attend the hearing. The district attorney or his representative, victim, victim's family, and a victim advocacy group, may appear before the Board of Pardons by means of telephone communication from the office of the local district attorney.
Only three persons in favor, to include the applicant and three in opposition to include the victim/victim's family member, will be allowed to speak at the hearing. However, there is no limit on written correspondence in favor and/or opposition to the applicant's request.
Applicant's failure to attend and/or to notify the Board of Pardons Office of his/her inability to attend the hearing will result in an automatic denial. The applicant may re-apply two years from the date of scheduled hearing.
Denials by Board after Public Hearing
The Board shall notify the applicant of the denial. Applicant may submit a new application two years after the date of denial.
The Board shall terminate the hearing should the applicant become disorderly, threatening or insolent. Any hearing terminated due to applicant's disorderly, threatening or insolent behavior is an automatic denial. The applicant may reapply four years from the date of hearing.
Denial - No Action Taken by Governor after Favorable Recommendation
The Board shall notify the applicant after its receipt of notification that favorable recommendation was denied or no action was taken by the Governor. Applicant may submit a new application one year from the date of the letter of denial or notice of no action.
The Office of the Governor will notify the applicant if any clemency is granted. Applicant may submit a new application for additional relief four years from the date of granted notice.
Every effort has been made to make this information accurate and up-to-date. Errors are inevitable and changes occur frequently. We would appreciate learning of any errors or inaccuracies regarding any information on this Webpage as soon as possible. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Updated 06/23/14