If a loved one has been given a life sentence in jail, there could be a chance the sentence could be commuted. Commutation is similar to a pardon and allows an inmate out of jail. A sentence can be commuted for a variety of reasons. Here is what you need to know.
What Is the Difference Between a Commuted Sentence and a Pardon?
There are some significant differences between a pardon and a commutation. For instance, a pardon will completely forgive the inmate. A commuted sentence is just shortened and he or she is still considered guilty of the crime.
Another consideration is the issue of civil rights. A commuted sentence does not give the defendant back his or her civil rights that were lost after a conviction. A pardon restores the person's civil rights.
There is also a difference as to the reason for the commutation or the pardon. An inmate can receive a commuted sentence for good behavior in most cases. A pardon is offered for a variety of reasons, including political influence.
What Types of Crimes Can Receive a Commutation?
Most sentences, including life sentences, are eligible for a commutation. The only exceptions are crimes related to treason or impeachment. Every state can make its own decisions on commuted sentences, including how many sentences can be commuted and the eligibility of inmates.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if the crime was a federal crime and subsequent sentence, only the President of the United States can commute the sentence.
Can One Violate Commutation?
A prisoner is bound by conditions in exchange for a commuted sentence. In general, a commutation comes with the condition that the prisoner will become a law-abiding citizen. Each state can include other conditions that cannot be invalidated unless the conditions themselves are deemed unconstitutional or illegal.
If the conditions of a commuted sentence are violated, the commutation can be voided and the governor of the state and the recipient can go back to jail to complete the sentence. If the sentence was for life, the individual will be back in jail for the rest of his or her life.
However, the commuted individual can receive due process prior to the revocation of a commutation. Due process will be different in each state. Once the commutation is revoked, the individual can be arrested again and will go back to prison without any hearings or explanations in some states.
For more information, contact a company that offers life sentence consulting services in your area.