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How does a person write a clemency letter?

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Quick Answer

A clemency letter should be written in a respectful tone and include any important irregularities from the trial or appeals, what state the appellant is a member of and any instances of abuse or other mitigating factors. A clemency letter is written to request a pardon of a convict's sentence, usually for those on death row.

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Clemency procedures vary from state to state. In 15 states, the governor has full authority to grant clemency in 15 states, while the governor needs the recommendation from a clemency board in seven states. In the remaining states, clemency is granted solely through the clemency board.

The clemency process begins with a clemency letter written by the convicted person. One of the most important things to remember when writing a clemency letter is to never downplay the crime or its effects on those involved. The letter should acknowledge that clemency does not excuse the crime. The tone should not be belligerent or angry, but it should instead be contrite and respectful.

The information in the body of the letter should be factual and to the point. The convict should state reasons why he or she should be granted clemency. The convict should discuss what he or she has done with his life while incarcerated and how he or she has improved. The convict should also discuss what his or her plans are upon his release if the clemency is granted. The convict should close the letter respectfully requesting consideration for clemency.

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