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National Advocacy Groups Show Support for NY’s Clemency Program

August 31, 2017, on Articles |

Schenectady criminal defense attorneys provide representation to individuals accused of criminal offenses with the goal of avoiding a guilty verdict and resulting penalties.  Avoiding conviction or using a plea bargain to reduce penalties can be vital to an accused defendant's future because a conviction could result in incarceration and other serious consequences.

Some defendants, however, are of course convicted. And, in some cases, those who are convicted will be deserving of clemency, which a governor can grant to commute a sentence or pardon a defendant.  New York has a clemency initiative that was put into place in 2015, and New York Daily News reported that the program is receiving support from national legal advocacy groups.

New York's Clemency Program Gets Outside Support

According to the New York Daily News, Governor Cuomo first launched the clemency initiative in 2015 because advocacy groups criticized the governor for only commuting a small number of sentences and only granting a handful of pardons to convicted offenders during the course of his first years in office.

In response to the criticism, Cuomo created a program which would identify prisoners who might be deserving of clemency and to provide those prisoners assistance during the process of applying.  Now, for the first time, national legal advocacy groups including the National Association of Defense Lawyers will be working with the state as part of New York's clemency initiative.  Governor Cuomo indicated that this is the first time a state-based clemency program has teamed up with these outside agencies, although the agencies were working with similar federal clemency programs which have now been discontinued.

The national legal advocacy organizations have praised Cuomo's clemency initiative, with the governor earning praise for recognizing that there are prisoners who have earned a fresh start. The program has already made a significant impact, as more than 100 New Yorkers were given conditional pardons last December.  With the new partnership with legal advocacy groups to help bring deserving prisoners to the attention of the governor, even more pardons may be granted to those who have proven they have turned things around and deserve a chance to re-enter and contribute to society.  The clemency initiative in New York has already identified around 1,700 potential applicants for clemency, and this partnership could make it possible for more deserving prisoners to be identified.

While this clemency program provides hope, being sentenced to serve jail time can still be devastating. If you have been arrested for a crime and you want to reduce the chances that you'll be found guilty and forced to face serious consequences, it is important to get help from Schenectady criminal defense attorneys right away. Clemency is far from a guarantee and many convicted defendants will not become eligible for clemency, so the best way to avoid a long prison sentence and a lasting criminal record is to be strategic in your defense strategy. Give us a call today or contact us online to learn how our legal team can help you to defend yourself from charges so you can reduce the chances of a guilty verdict.