Pardon Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Pardon, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Pardon?

It refers to the act of the highest authority in the government who rules the law and has power to forgive someone who has commited crime or have been convicted of the crime thereby, restoring the rights of that person and releasing him/her of the present sentence. Normally President of the country has such powers to pardon and once such pardon are granted the sentence is removed from the books as if it has never occured. Depending on the condition of trial, the behaviour of the convict , the age, are some factors taken into consideration when deciding on granting of the pardon by the President.

History and Meaning of Pardon

Pardon is a term used in the legal system which refers to the act of forgiveness for a crime committed by a person. The highest authority in the government is usually vested with the power to grant a pardon. In the United States, this authority often lies with the President, who has the power to forgive and release convicted criminals. Pardons may be granted for various reasons, such as on the grounds of the convict's advanced age, high levels of rehabilitation or some act of heroism.

Pardons are not granted lightly and are usually only considered after a thorough review of the convict's circumstances. While granting the pardon, the President may also restore the person's rights, such as the right to vote, hold office, serve on a jury or possess firearms.

Examples of Pardon

  1. In 2001, President George W. Bush pardoned a man who was convicted of tax fraud almost fifty years ago.

  2. President Trump issued several pardons during his final days in office, including one for his former campaign adviser, Steve Bannon, who was facing charges of fraud.

  3. In 1915, President Woodrow Wilson pardoned a man who had been imprisoned for forty years for stealing five dollars.

Legal Terms Similar to Pardon

  1. Commutation - Commutation is the act of reducing the length of a sentence, often on the grounds of good behavior by the convict.

  2. Amnesty - Amnesty refers to a general pardon granted to a group of people for acts committed during a specific period.

  3. Clemency - Clemency is a general term that refers to mercy or leniency shown to a person who has committed a crime, often by reducing their sentence.