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Franklin County Criminal Law Casebook
Reproduced with permission from
Allen V. Adair and the Franklin County Public Defender Office

CLEMENCY (209)

Harbison v. Bell (2009), 129 S.Ct. 1481 – Counsel appointed to represent a state court defendant in federal habeas may also represent that defendant in state clemency proceedings.

Ohio Adult Parole Authority v. Woodard (1998), 523 U.S. 272, 118 S.Ct. 1244, 1247 -- "The Due Process Clause is not violated where, as here, the procedures in question do no more that confirm that the clemency and pardon power is committed, as is our tradition, to the executive. We further hold that a voluntary inmate interview does not violate the Fifth Amendment."

State ex rel. Maurer v. Sheward (1994), 71 Ohio St. 3d 513 -- The Governor's clemency power is subject to the restrictions set forth in Article III, Sec. 11 of the Ohio Constitution. Under that provision, the legislature may regulate the manner in which pardons may be applied for, but may not limit applications for, and the granting of commutations and reprieves.

Coleman v. Ohio Adult Parole Authority (1996), 115 Ohio App. 3d 212 -- Death Row inmate challenged clemency procedure calling for interview, without presence of counsel, to be conducted while appeal was pending. Basis of challenge was that procedure was a rule which had to be adopted pursuant to Chapter 119 and R.C. 111.15. Majority finds declaratory judgment action was properly dismissed, and suggests State ex rel. Maurer v. Sheward would have been controlling if it was not, on constitutional grounds making the rule inapplicable to plaintiff at the time the suit was filed. Dissent believes procedure amounts to rules and would remand for adjudication on the merits.

State v. Taylor (1997), 78 Ohio St. 3d 15, 26 -- A commutation does not erase a conviction. "A commutation is not a pardon."

State v. Cope (1996), 111 Ohio App. 3d 310 -- A person granted a pardon is entitled to judicial expungement, even though he is not a first offender. Prior denial of statutory expungement was not res judicata. An unconditional pardon relieves the person to whom it was granted of all disabilities arising from conviction. It is as if the crime had never been committed.

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