In Colorado, there are two types of clemency:
- commutation of sentence – which is the shortening of a criminal sentence
- pardon – which is a public declaration of forgiveness by the Governor after the sentence has been served
A commutation of sentence is only available to Department of Corrections’ prisoners and then only with the assistance of a Department of Corrections case manager.
A pardon is available to people who have been convicted of a crime and 10 years have passed since the completion of their sentence. To be considered for a pardon, a person must complete and submit a Pardon Application.
(Click Here for Attachment Form A)
In addition to the application, it is recommended that an applicant also submit police reports, pre-sentence investigation reports, charging documents, and sentencing documents. Most of these documents can be obtained from the clerk of the court or the local law enforcement agency that investigated the offense. When completed, the application and any attachments must be mailed to:
136 State Capitol
Denver, CO 80203-1792
The Clemency Coordinator will seek input from the district attorney, the judge who presided over the case, and the attorney who prosecuted the case. The Clemency Coordinator will also seek input from the victim. Once this is complete, the packet is reviewed by the clemency board, which makes recommendations on the merits of each application. The Governor then makes a final decision to grant, deny, table (postpone consideration) or take no action concerning the request.
An application can take between six months to one year to process.
If the Governor grants a pardon, the person is no longer convicted of the crime. However, the pardon does not act as an expungement or sealing of records. Rather, the criminal computer records of the offense are marked as “pardoned.”
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