Someone who has been convicted of a criminal offense in Washington may continue to maintain their innocence. Sometimes, they can appeal an unfair verdict from a criminal trial when there were issues with the proceedings.
If an appeal is not an option or proves unsuccessful, clemency might still be an option. The Washington state clemency process involves submitting a petition asking for a reprieve, a sentence commutation or a pardon.
Applicants must wait at least 10 years
Since 2015, the Washington State Clemency and Pardons Board has imposed a 10-year waiting period. Someone needs to wait at least 10 years after the date of their conviction to petition the state for clemency unless there are emergency circumstances.
Once enough time has passed, applicants need to fill out a petition form, typically with the assistance of a licensed lawyer. They must then submit that petition to the Washington State Clemency and Pardons Board. The Board reviews every petition in depth and decides which ones should go on to the governor for consideration.
The governor then reviews those petitions and chooses which, if any, of the applicants deserve post-conviction relief. A clemency petition approved by the governor could end someone’s incarceration or allow their conviction to be pardoned.
State-level clemency is often one of the last options available to those convicted of a criminal offense. Therefore, paying attention to detail and presenting a compelling case are of the utmost importance. Seeking legal guidance accordingly when petitioning for post-conviction relief can make a major difference for someone wrongfully convicted of a crime in Washington.