COLUMBUS – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced a new project that will expedite the process for certain former criminal offenders to apply to receive a pardon in Ohio.
The Ohio Governor’s Expedited Pardon Project — which will operate in partnership among the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC), The Ohio State University, and The University of Akron — will simplify Ohio’s lengthy clemency process for certain rehabilitated citizens who have consistently demonstrated that they’ve become contributing members of society.
“There are decent people all over the state who are living in the shadow of a long-past and regretted mistake – people who, despite becoming law-abiding citizens, can’t get ahead because their criminal records are holding them back,” said DeWine in a news release Tuesday. “Our new program will simplify and expedite the application process for certain rehabilitated citizens in an effort to give them the chance to pursue more career and educational opportunities, as well as to help them achieve an overall improved quality of life.”
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law’s Drug Enforcement and Policy Center and the University of Akron School of Law’s Reentry Clinic will screen potential pardon candidates to ensure that they meet the project’s requirements. The universities will then provide free assistance to those identified as potential pardon candidates.
“The Moritz College of Law is pleased to collaborate with Governor Mike DeWine and The University of Akron School of Law on this pioneering project. The project is further testament of the myriad ways the university serves our state. The expedited process piloted in the program aims to improve the well-being of eligible Ohioans and significantly benefit their families and communities in accordance with the law,” said Lincoln L. Davies, Dean of The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. “In the process, students will enhance their education and legal training through client interaction and casework. This work underscores the Moritz College of Law’s culture of engagement and service — and our dedication to preparing students to become devoted attorneys, community leaders, and engaged citizens.”
“For nearly a decade, University of Akron law students in our Reentry Clinic have been helping deserving Ohioans become productive citizens after serving their debt to society. I am excited that this new statewide program will expand these opportunities, and I am grateful to Governor DeWine for his leadership and to our friends at Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law for their invaluable partnership,” said Christopher J. Peters, Dean, University of Akron School of Law.
To apply to participate in the Ohio Governor’s Expedited Pardon Project, rehabilitated Ohio citizens must meet the following criteria:
• The applicant must not have committed any additional crimes (excluding minor traffic citations) in at least the past 10 years.
• The applicant must not have been convicted of any disqualifying offenses.
• The applicant must have made good faith efforts to meet all requirements of sentencing, such as the payment of fines or restitution.
• The applicant must have a post-offense employment history or a compelling reason why he or she has not been employed.
• The applicant must have a history of performing volunteer work and community service.
• The applicant must have a specific reason for seeking a pardon.
Pardon applications approved for submission as part of the Ohio Governor’s Expedited Pardon Project will be processed and considered in approximately six months.
Applicants who meet the aforementioned criteria will receive an expedited hearing before the Ohio Parole Board. Those impacted by each case, such as victims, families, judges, and prosecutors, will also have an opportunity to voice objections to a potential pardon.
All cases will then be forwarded to Governor DeWine for approval or denial.
For more information on the Ohio Governor’s Expedited Pardon Project and to apply, visit: www.ohioexpeditedpardon.org.
The success of the project will be evaluated to determine the feasibility of offering it in other parts of the state.
Individuals who do not meet the criteria to participate in the project may still apply for a pardon through the standard clemency process.