Applicable Form of Executive Clemency: Commutation of Sentence

Eligibility: An inmate may request from the Maryland Parole Commission a recommendation from it to the Governor that a sentence be commuted if all legal remedies are exhausted and the circumstances of the case are unusual. If the Governor denies the request, it may be resubmitted after a reasonable time determined by the Commission.

The best (yet very sketchy) official explanation of the commutation of sentence and pardon process is at the end of this FAQ page: Maryland Parole Commission Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

Application Process: 

Inmates should send a letter requesting a commutation of sentence to:

Maryland Parole Commission
6776 Reisterstown Road, Suite 307
Baltimore, MD 21215-2343
Tel: (410) 585-3200
Fax: (410) 764-4355
Toll Free: 1(800) 241-5428 (does not work from all areas)
TTY: (410) 486-0677

The letter can include any information the inmate deems relevant, but should include the following:

  • Name and prisoner number

  • Current address

  • Offense for which clemency is sought

  • Date of conviction

  • Reasons why a commutation of sentence should be granted

No official application for commutation of sentence is currently available to download — the weblink seems to be permanently broken.

A majority vote of the quorum of Commissioners reviewing a petition is required for any action taken on a petition. Quorum action may include referral to the full Commission. The Commission provides the Governor with a specific recommendation that reflects unanimity, or majority and minority opinions.

If circumstances warrant, the Commission may require the appearance of the petitioner and the investigator for resolution of disputed information. The Commission is available for office appointments with interested parties.

In cases where no recommendation is made the petitioner is supposed to be advised when reapplication is permitted. The result of any Commission action will be communicated in writing to the petitioner and to their attorney or representative.

This Maryland Secretary of State webpage does very little to explain the pardon/commutation application process, and confusingly suggests that the process starts at that office. That is only true in the technical sense that the Secretary of State arranges for publication of notices of applications for pardons and commutations of sentence in local newspapers, which is the first official step the State takes. But the process begins much sooner with the inmate's request for an application. At the end of the process, the Secretary of State affixes the seal of the state to the document granting a pardon once it is approved by the Governor.

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You are on an unofficial webpage, not affiliated with the official state webpage. Every effort has been made to make this information accurate and up-to-date. Changes occur frequently and errors are inevitable. We would appreciate learning of any errors or inaccuracies. You may write to

CJPF is unable to answer questions regarding this state's clemency program. CJPF cannot provide legal assistance and does not take on individual clients. CJPF cannot provide applicants for clemency any assistance. Do not send clemency materials to CJPF. Please do not write or call asking for assistance.


Last Updated: 10/01/18