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§ 9. Pardoning power; Board of Pardons

Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes and Consolidated StatutesConstitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes and Consolidated Statutes
Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Refs & Annos)
Article IV. The Executive
Const. Art. 4, § 9
§ 9. Pardoning power; Board of Pardons
(a) In all criminal cases except impeachment the Governor shall have power to remit fines and forfeitures, to grant reprieves, commutation of sentences and pardons; but no pardon shall be granted, nor sentence commuted, except on the recommendation in writing of a majority of the Board of Pardons, and, in the case of a sentence of death or life imprisonment, on the unanimous recommendation in writing of the Board of Pardons, after full hearing in open session, upon due public notice. The recommendation, with the reasons therefor at length, shall be delivered to the Governor and a copy thereof shall be kept on file in the office of the Lieutenant Governor in a docket kept for that purpose.
(b) The Board of Pardons shall consist of the Lieutenant Governor who shall be chairman, the Attorney General and three members appointed by the Governor with the consent of a majority of the members elected to the Senate for terms of six years. The three members appointed by the Governor shall be residents of Pennsylvania. One shall be a crime victim, one a corrections expert and the third a doctor of medicine, psychiatrist or psychologist. The board shall keep records of its actions, which shall at all times be open for public inspection.

Credits

Amended May 16, 1967; May 20, 1975; Nov. 4, 1997.
HISTORICAL NOTES
1967 Amendment
The 1967 amendment, proposed by Joint Resolution No. 4, 1967, P.L. 1044, rewrote the section, which prior thereto read:
“He shall have power to remit fines and forfeitures, to grant reprieves, commutations of sentence and pardons, except in cases of impeachment; but no pardon shall be granted, nor sentence commuted, except upon the recommendation in writing of the Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of the Commonwealth, Attorney General and Secretary of Internal Affairs, or any three of them, after full hearing, upon due public notice and in open session, and such recommendation, with the reasons therefor at length, shall be recorded and filed in the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.”
1975 Amendment
The 1975 amendment, proposed by Joint Resolution No. 2, 1974, P.L. 1322, S.B. No. 1409, and Joint Resolution No. 1, 1975, P.L. 619, S.B. No. 22, in the first sentence following “consent of two-thirds”, inserted “or a majority” and, following “to the Senate”, substituted “as is specified by law for “, one for two years, one for four years, and one for six years and thereafter for full”.
1997 Amendment
The 1997 amendment, proposed by Joint Resolution No. 2, 1995, P.L. 1152, S.B. No. 4, and Joint Resolution No. 2, 1997, P.L. 634, S.B. No. 156, in subsec. (a), inserted the provision relating to sentences of death or life imprisonment, and rewrote subsec. (b).
Prior Constitutions
Under the Constitution of 1776, § 20 the supreme executive council had power to grant pardons and remit fines in all cases except in cases of impeachment. In cases of treason and murder the council had power to grant reprieves but not to pardon until the end of the next session of Assembly, and there was to be no remissions or mitigation of punishments on impeachments except by act of the Legislature.
The Constitutions of 1790 and 1838 in Art. 2, § 9 provided simply that the governor should have power to remit fines and forfeitures and grant reprieves and pardons except in cases of impeachment.
Const. Art. 4, § 9, PA CONST Art. 4, § 9
Current through November 6, 2018, General Election.
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