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Pardons not always easy to come by

Having a criminal record can affect the rest of a person's life. It can make it more difficult for a person to obtain housing or find a job. Oftentimes, a person in Arizona who is in prison, or is out of prison but has a criminal record, will seek a pardon from the governor. However, these pardons are hard to come by.

Take the case of one Arizona woman. In 1999, she spent time in jail for a drunk driving crash that caused the death of an 8-year-old girl. The woman was 17 when the accident occurred. She pleaded guilty to manslaughter, served seven years behind bars, obtained her GED and is now an addiction therapist. She wants to be able to volunteer at her child's school but can't because of her criminal record. The Clemency Board agreed she should be pardoned, but, as of right now, Governor Ducey has only approved a single pardon in his term in office.

She is not the only person facing this situation. Some people who are seeking a pardon were convicted while they were teenagers, served their time behind bars and are now trying to become productive members of the community. However, they are unable to find a job due to their criminal record. In other cases, the Clemency Board deemed a person's sentence unduly harsh, making the recommendation that the person's present sentence be reduced.

However, when it comes to reduced sentences, Governor Ducey has only granted them five times, four of which were granted when the individual was dying. The previous governor granted 13 pardons and the governor before her granted 22 pardons. A spokesman for Ducy has claimed that the cases that have been presented to him are being carefully analyzed.

Pardons may not be easy to come by. But, they can happen with time. So, for some, seeking a pardon may be an option worth exploring with the assistance of a criminal defense attorney.

Source: Arizona Capitol Times, "Ducey record on pardons, commutations not forgiving," Rachel Leingang, March 9, 2018

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