Parole, Clemency, Corrections, and Pardons, Oh My! – Part Two
A service member may also request a Presidential Pardon, the highest form of clemency. Under the first Clause of Article II of the Constitution, the President has the power to grant pardons for those who commit federal offenses. The pardon means that the offense has been forgiven. However, it is important to remember that a pardon will not affect the character of a service member’s discharge or erase a conviction record. Requests for pardons are handled through the U. S. Department of Justice’s Office of the Pardon Attorney.
Once an accused service member has exhausted all other existing remedies, another method for the service member to either modify or reduce a sentence may be through a petition to their service branch’s Board for the Correction of Military Records (BCMR). Our office has enjoyed tremendous success here and has helped countless service members and veterans from all branches successfully navigate the BCMR.
There is also a Board for the Correction of Service Records that was created for the purpose of correcting military records, where such action is necessary or appropriate to correct an injustice or error. These civilian boards were created in line with the statutory provisions of 10 U.S.C. § 1552. These boards cannot set aside a court-martial conviction, but may reduce or modify a judgment as a matter of clemency, even if it has already been executed.