Clemency is the constitutionally authorized process that provides the means through which convicted felons may be considered for relief from punishment and seek restoration of their civil rights. The clemency function is an act of mercy that absolves an individual from all, or any part, of the punishment that the law imposes. This is a power to grant full or conditional pardons, or commute punishment. If an individual was adjudicated delinquent of an offense as a juvenile and not adjudicated guilty in adult court, that person is not eligible for any form of clemency.
There are rules for these procedures, and these powers to grant clemency are vested in the Governor with the agreement of two cabinet members who are also statewide elected officials. The Governor also has the sole power to deny clemency.
Full Pardon – A Full Pardon unconditionally releases a person from punishment and forgives guilt for any Florida convictions. It restores to an applicant all of the rights of citizenship possessed by the person before his or her conviction, including the right to own, possess, or use firearms.
Pardon Without Firearm Authority – A Pardon Without Firearm Authority releases a person from punishment and forgives guilt. It entitles an applicant to all of the rights of citizenship enjoyed by the person before his or her conviction, except the specific authority to own, possess, or use firearms.
Pardon for Misdemeanor – A Pardon for Misdemeanor conviction releases a person from punishment and forgives guilt.
Commutation of Sentence – A Commutation of Sentence may adjust an applicant’s penalty to one less severe but does not restore any civil rights, and it does not restore the authority to own, possess, or use firearms.
Remission of Fines and Forfeitures – A Remission of Fines or Forfeitures suspends, reduces, or removes fines or forfeitures.
Specific Authority to Own, Possess, or Use Firearms – The Specific Authority to Own, Possess, or Use Firearms restores to an applicant the right to own, possess, or use firearms, which were lost as a result of a felony conviction. Due to federal firearms laws, the Clemency Board will not consider requests for firearm authority from individuals convicted in federal or out-of-state courts. In order to comply with the federal laws, a Presidential Pardon or a Relief of Disability from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms must be issued in cases involving federal court convictions. A Pardon or Restoration of Civil Rights with no restrictions on firearms must be issued by the state where the conviction occurred.
Restoration of Civil Rights in Florida - The Restoration of Civil Rights restores to an applicant all of the rights of citizenship in the State of Florida enjoyed before the felony conviction, except the specific authority to own, possess, or use firearms. Such restoration shall not relieve an applicant from the registration and notification requirements or any other obligations and restrictions imposed by law upon sexual predators or sexual offenders.
Regarding the Restoration of Civil Rights (RCR) process and the passage of Amendment Four:
For those offenders covered by the amendment, only the right to vote, not the right to sit on a jury or the right to hold public office, is contemplated by the amendment. Restoration of the right to sit on a jury and to hold public office can only be obtained through application to the Board of Executive Clemency.
As to those offenders not covered by the amendment, namely those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense or those who have not completed all terms of their sentence, the restoration of the right to vote, to sit on a jury, and to hold public office can only be obtained through application to the Board of Executive Clemency.
Restoration of Alien Status under Florida Law - The Restoration of Alien Status Under Florida Law restores to an applicant who is not a citizen of the United States such rights enjoyed by him or her, under the authority of the State of Florida, which were lost as a result of a conviction of any crime that is a felony or would be a felony under Florida law, except the specific authority to own, possess, or use firearms. However, restoration of these rights shall not affect the immigration status of the applicant (i.e., a certificate evidencing Restoration of Alien Status Under Florida Law shall not be a ground for relief from removal proceedings initiated by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service).
For more information on the eligibility criteria for each form of clemency (Rule 5.) read the "Rules of Executive Clemency."
Toll Free: 1-800-435-8286
Phone: (850) 488-2952
Fax: (850) 488-0695
The Office of Executive Clemency
Florida Commission on Offender Review
4070 Esplanade Way
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2450