Department of Justice Expands Clemency Opportunities

Web Admin - Thursday, May 01, 2014

The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently released changes to the rules that govern which offenders are eligible for clemency. The changes are targeted at federal drug offenders who may have received particularly harsh sentences based on mandatory minimum sentences or other sentencing procedures that are now deemed unfair. The changes affect the 216,000 inmates currently in federal prisons, though preliminary estimates suggest that only approximately 2,000 inmates would be eligible for clemency under the new rules.

What Is Clemency?

Clemency is a power granted to the President under the Constitution that allows him to affect the sentences of federal inmates. Ordinarily, the Office of the Pardon Attorney, a branch of the DOJ, examines the applications initially, and makes a recommendation to the Deputy Attorney General. The Deputy Attorney General then passes their own recommendation on to the President who makes the final decision.

Clemency comes in two forms, a pardon or a commutation of a sentence. A pardon represents the President’s forgiveness of the offender for the crime, and often signifies reform or good behavior. This type of clemency will also remove many civil disabilities that come along with a conviction, such as loss of the right to vote or hold state office. Conversely, a commutation is a lesser type of clemency, which can reduce or eliminate a person’s sentence, but will not remove civil disabilities. Importantly, neither type of clemency reverses a conviction or in any way implies that the pardoned offender is innocent.

The New Rules

The new rules released by the DOJ do not replace the old clemency standards, but instead expand on them. They are mainly targeted at drug offenders, but could apply to any inmate with a conviction for any low-level nonviolent offense. The six criteria that the DOJ will examine are:

  • - The inmate must be serving a federal sentence that would be substantially lower if the inmate were convicted of that same offense today;
  • - The inmate must be a “non-violent, low-level” offender with no strong connections to serious criminal organizations, gangs, or cartels;
  • - The individual must have served at least 10 years of their term in prison;
  • - The inmate must not have a large history of criminal activity;
  • - The inmate must have had good behavior while incarcerated; and
  • - The inmate must not have a history of violence either prior to their incarceration or during it.

While meeting these criteria does not necessarily qualify an inmate for clemency, the DOJ has stated that they would “prioritize” clemency applications from people in these categories since they believe that they may be “especially meritorious.”

If you believe that you or a loved one could qualify under these new, expanded clemency standards, seek advice from a skilled Illinois criminal defense attorney. Our team has experience handling cases from across the northwest suburbs, including in Rolling Meadows, Palatine, and Schaumburg.

About the Author: Founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, Colin Gilbert, received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of law in 2005. Colin argues cases across many practice areas including criminal defense, collections, civil litigation, real estate law, and corporate law. Colin is an active member of the Board of Governors of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association and the Illinois Creditors Bar Association. He is currently Vice President of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, and is a Commissioner for the Village of Arlington Heights. Colin has a 10.0 Attorney rating on Avvo, and was named one of the 2014 “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyers in Illinois by the National Trial Lawyers Association.

Recent Posts


power of attorney for healthcare personal injury accidents Arlington Heights employment law attorneys deed transfer employee discrimination Inverness elder law lawyer Home Remodeling Repair Act drug crimes lawyer Attorney Ken Apicella living trust vs will denied insurance claims Barrington attorney Arlington Heights wills and trusts lawyer Whistleblower Claims Illinois personal injury Buffalo Grove personal injury attorney Detainer Actions Illinois business lawyer DGAA Barrington employment attorney insurance claim denials startup company speeding Illinois elder law attorney murder defense Barrington business law firm Palatine corporate law attorneys traumatic brain injuries Illinois trusts attorney IRELA PTSD Riverwoods estate planning lawyer Deer Park motorcycle accident lawyer Arlington Heights car crash attorneys swimming pools Illinois personal injury lawyer Buffalo Grove corporate attorney Palatine business attorney Illinois job attorney Affordable Care Act insurance claim Des Plaines corporate law automated cars boating accidents appealing an insurance claim estate planning lawyer Schaumburg criminal attorney employment attorney BAC Super Mario Illinois insurance claim dispute lawyers Barrington medical malpractice lawyers Schaumburg estate attorney Deer Park traffic lawyer Schaumburg civil litigation attorney liability claims senior citizens Illinois estate planning insurance agent negligence creditors back injuries unauthorized overtime Illinois red light cameras Des Plaines drug lawyer Rolling Meadows insurance dispute lawyers Long Grove real estate lawyer underinsured motorist Arlington Heights medical malpractice lawyer traffic tickets foreclosed rental property Illinois small business personal injury, auto accident injuries, delayed injuries, serious injuries, Des Plaines personal injury attorneys Crystal lake insurance dispute attorney Rolling Meadows insurance lawyer Rolling Meadows criminal lawyer Deer Park traffic accident attorney Crystal Lake employment law attorney estate tax trust payments rollover accidents Illinois real estate lawyer Long Grove wills and trusts attorneys Rolling Meadows tax attorney paid sick leave new real estate form Deer Park workers compensation lawyer workers compensation benefits estate planning Liquor Control Act defective products lawyer defective products Rolling Meadows traffic law firm Chicago will attorney BAIID Illinois real estate Illinois traffic attorney traumatic brain injury elder abuse car crashes Illinois employment law attorneys Illinois boating accident lawyer slip and fall accidents real estate lawyer drug crime clemency medication errors Rolling Meadows criminal attorney Des Plaines pet law attorney boating under the influence Buffalo Grove injury lawyer rollover car crashes Schaumburg Attorney hiring employees federal crimes IRA benefits fiduciary rule delay Chicago insurance law firm FSLA icy parking lots probate claims tax attorney vacation home fines Mt Prospect Attorney Illinois wrongful termination lawyer Buffalo Grove law firm overtime pay estate plan spinal cord injuries spinal cord injury Illinois traffic laws healthcare claims holiday statistics unpaid assessment head on collisions Arlington Heights Attorney living trust field sobriety test real estate estate attorney wills motorcycle accident Deer Park employment law attorney personal injury attorney Illinois home inspection Arlington Heights insurance attorney landlord tenant law caregiver real estate contract Chicago trucking accident attorney Chicago estate planning Family Medical Leave Act Illinois insurance disputes Des Plaines personal injury attorney Legal Info changes to mortgage law Rolling Meadows traffic attorney construction accidents, personal injury, wrongful death, Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys, workers' compensation insurance disputes, Illinois insurance disputes, Illinois insurance dispute attorneys, denied insurance claims, Arlington Heights insurance dispute attorneys reckless homicide LLCs IRA trust transfer Des Plaines insurance attorney Buffalo Grove criminal defense lawyer Crystal Lake medical malpractice attorneys products liability insurance denial appeals Illinois car accident attorney Rolling Meadows accident lawyer underage DUI medical malpractice claims Inverness traffic law firm Illinois medical malpractice claim Arlington Heights wills and trusts lawyers loopholes Illinois wills and trusts attorneys Palatine criminal defense lawyer pregnant women Arlington Heights estate planning attorney car accident Inverness civil lawyer unfunded trust Crystal Lake car accident lawyer internet Illinois speeding lawyer ACA wrongful termination Barrington Illinois estate planning lawyer Exclusions Illinois civil litigation lawyer Rolling Meadows litigation lawyer traffic crimes Illinois will lawyer Barrington employment law attorney truck collisions estate planning trusts Arlington Heights wills and trusts attorneys liens insurance dispute attorney Rolling Meadows estate planning attorney trucking accidents Des Plaines claims law firm living trust benefits Schaumburg corporate attorney Crystal Lake business law attorneys uninsured motorist college kids small business nursing home negligence employment contract, employment law, employment at-will, Deer Park employment law attorneys, contract, traffic violations defense insurance claim dispute Class A misdemeanor Illinois Trust Code real estate attorneys drug crimes disability benefits Illinois pet lawyer taxes Schaumburg estate planning attorney Chicago car accident lawyer Self-Directed IRA Accounts wage theft Illinois driving without license Illinois workplace discrimination attorney Illinois employment laws whistleblower protections commercial real estate bad faith insurance claims severance agreements Illinois workers compensation attorney Rolling Meadows boating crash lawyer Barrington workers compensation attorney manufacturing residential real estate Crystal Lake will lawyer POA Illinois tax attorney rumble strips wills and trusts marijuana Des Plaines tax law firm Des Plaines medical malpractice attorney Inverness corporate attorney employment contract Illinois law estate planning attorney advance healthcare directive Chicago corporate attorney insurance dispute Rolling Meadows employment attorney CAM murder charges pay when paid contract Barrington civil litigation attorney civil litigation workplace sexual harassment problem employees civil rights violation insurance agents Colin H. Gilbert medical research suspended license contracts Schaumburg employment attorney medical malpractice compensation Schaumburg wrongful death attorney Inverness insurance attorney Rolling Meadows drug defense attorney insurance adjusters employment lawyer blood alcohol content Des Plaines collections attorney guardianship attorney Buffalo Grove car accident lawyer pet bites expungement landlord Arlington Heights lawyer Palatine elder law attorney insurance negligence surgical mistakes Inverness DUI lawyer Illinois medical malpractice attorney Kenilworth estate planning attorney traffic violations Rolling Meadows insurance dispute lawyers, insurance dispute Crystal Lake car accident attorney Illinois insurance claim attorney pet law Transfer on Death Instrument involuntary manslaughter life insurance policy Crystal Lake medical malpractice lawyer dealing with problem employees Illinois employment law firm Arlington Heights TBI attorney Crystal Lake personal injury attorney Arlington Heights real estate lawyer FMLA texting and driving insurance denials probate personal injury lawyer Deer Park DUI lawyer no contest clauses Illinois bicycle safety car crash Illinois workers compensation lawyer commercial leasing BUI insurance claims comp time personal injury claim Barrington litigation attorney Chicago will attorney, social media platforms, Illinois estate planning lawyer, installment contracts School Visitation Rights Act criminal defense business litigation Illinois probate lawyer Illinois living will condo dog bites car collision comparative negligence elder law GM ignition switches foreclosure personal injury claims Crystal Lake accident attorney DMV Schaumburg medical malpractice lawyer Barrington injury attorney Palatine employment law lawyer Illinois estate planning attorney wrongful death life insurance lawyer digital assets work unions medical malpractice fiduciary rule anesthesia errors Rolling Meadows corporate lawyer independent contractor Palatine employment attorney criminal law Inverness estate planning lawyer Arlington Heights personal injury lawyer real estate closing motorcycle accident lawyer Schaumburg breathalyzer test llinois Real Estate Lawyers Association Schaumburg estate planning lawyer trucking accident lawyers Palatine punch death gift taxes Illinois workplace lawyer Mount Prospect wills and trusts lawyers natural gas Des Plaines personal injury lawyers construction contracts vacation home traffic accidents homestead rights bike accident Chicago insurance claim attorneys drugs federal regulations for LLCs car accident lawyers healthcare Rolling Meadows business lawyer ken apicella Crystal Lake criminal defense attorney Schaumburg injury lawyer sole proprietorship living wills Palatine real estate lawyer car accidents meal breaks attorney fees license Schaumburg real estate lawyer coronavirus Illinois construction accident attorney pedestrian injuries, pedestrian fatality Illinois mortgages Kenilworth estate planning lawyer in terrorem provision Illinois Human Rights Act Des Plaines real estate lawyer Buffalo Grove personal injury lawyer overtime violations medical marijuana Buffalo Grove employment lawyer blended families South Barrington real estate attorney bicycle accidents privacy laws Palatine civil litigation lawyer Illinois pedestrian accident attorney probate lawyer Illinois rollover accident lawyers estate planning, death tax, succession plans, business estate plans, Barrington estate planning lawyers Chicago attorney real estate zoning insurance claim dispute attorney Deer Park accident attorney filing a medical malpractice claim Barrington personal injury lawyer estate planning for college students cell phone tower data Barrington drug crime attorney Crystal Lake tax lawyer Crystal Lake traffic lawyer low-ball insurance settlement income distribution deducation Mount Prospect real estate lawyer Illinois Fair Labor Standards Act Arlington Heights accident attorney Rolling Meadows real estate attorney Illinois Smoke Detector Act Illinois LLC creation Colin Gilbert Palatine corporate attorney Illinois traffic ticket lawyer Inverness probate lawyer slip and fall Illinois defective products attorney owner responsibility TBI Employment Discrimination Law life insurance sexual harassment Barrington Traffic Lawyer unpaid overtime Illinois Sales Representative Act Long Grove estate planning attorney pedestrian-automobile accident Schaumburg drug defense lawyer controlled substance personal injury law firm Illinois employment law Crystal Lake medical malpractice law firm traffic laws pizza emoji Des Plaines real estate attorney Rolling Meadows probate lawyer special needs trust Des Plaines drug crimes lawyer real estate attorney Deer Park medical malpractice attorney Long Grove estate planning attorneys Home Sale Contingencies drunk driving Illinois insurance claim dispute lawyer Inverness personal injury attorney Rolling Meadows employment law attorneys natural gas explosion caretaker rights license reinstatement wrongful termination, employment law, whistleblower protections, Illinois employment laws, discrimination in the workplace medical malpractice, missed diagnosis, delayed diagnosis, medical mistake, Deer Creek medical malpractice lawyers Crystal Lake insurance lawyer Fourth of July Palatine estate planning lawyer Arlington Heights criminal lawyer minimum wage jet ski murder pain and suffering Barrington employment law firm fatal car accidents Joliet general practice lawyers preventable medical errors employment law, Illinois employment laws ObamaCare insurance attorney criminal record Palatine traffic lawyer gift tax exemption, estate planning, estate planning strategies, Illinois estate planning, South Barrington estate planning attorneys breach of contract Kenilworth estate planning attorneys Illinois motorcycle accident lawyer Des Plaines civil attorney digital media accounts, estate planning, Arlington Heights estate planning attorney, Illinois medical malpractice case distracted driving accidents Crystal Lake injury attorney investment property Illinois DUI attorney employee rights employees Illinois Transfer on Death Instrument digital assets, digital fiduciary, estate planning, digital content, Long Grove estate planning lawyers Palatine workers compensation lawyer Des Plaines DUI attorney mass shooting capital gains tax power of attorney dram shop law health insurance dispute Rolling Meadows car accident lawyers Chicago lawyer Inverness accident lawyer insurance disputes dynasty trusts Illinois attorney IRS South Barrington real estate lawyer DUI penalities distracted driving accident victims trench injuries Illinois business law atorneys underfunded trust real estate leasing civil litigation attorney Forcible Entry Des Plaines personal injury lawyer bicycle dooring accidents Retaliatory Discharge Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act compensatory time revenge porn Illinois collections attorney Rolling Meadows insurance attorney Schaumburg personal injury lawyers Illinois injury lawyer workers comp Illinois employment law attorney cell phone accidents sexual images Illinois insurance dispute lawyers Arlington Heights car accident lawyer digital evidence Schaumburg personal injury lawyer Illinois corporate lawyer Barrington personal injury attorney brain injury DUI defense auto accidents texting while driving marijuana crimes attorney trauma after an accident Chicago employment attorney irrevocable trust accidental death benefits traffic offenses Palatine construction attorney Palatine probate lawyer personal injury Crystal Lake civil litigation lawyer job lawyers Crystal Lake employment lawyer probate fees condo association traffic deaths DUI hands free device privacy Crystal Lake employment attorney Rolling Meadows Attorney Buffalo Grove medical malpractice lawyers Des Plaines Traffic Lawyer digital information Inverness injury lawyer probate claims process child safety insurance dispute, insurance dispute lawyers, insurance claim denial, insurance claim delays, Rolling Meadows insurance dispute attorneys Buffalo Grove probate lawyer crossover accidents Chicago traffic lawyer Schaumburg car accident attorney Crystal Lake bike accident lawyer Illinois medical malpractice lawyers rent to own real estate contracts Crystal Lake law firm Buffalo Grove insurance claim dispute lawyers Rolling Meadows DUI lawyer employment law, meal breaks, rest breaks, hotel employees, Des Plaines employment law attorneys agent Schaumburg construction accident lawyer Schaumburg traffic lawyer institutional trustee trusts Rolling Meadows personal injury lawyers Mount Prospect elder law attorney Palatine civil attorney Schaumburg personal injury attorney Barrington boating accident attorney criminal Do Not Resuscitate Chicago estate planning lawyer modern family estate planning Barrington criminal defense lawyer Chicago biking tips Des Plaines accident attorney Crystal Lake estate planning lawyer employee misclassification Food and Drug Administration's Food Safety Modernization Act Illinois insurance attorney liability Schaumburg employment law attorneys hit and run accident Buffalo Grove real estate attorney mortgage eluding a police officer workers compensation Illinois wills and trusts insurance claim denial Schaumburg elder law lawyer Arlington Heights traffic attorney trustee food poisoning Buffalo Grove traffic attorney Palatine insurance lawyer employment law Arlington Heights tax lawyer rest breaks Chicago employment lawyer Illinois personal injury attorney preventing accidents denied insurance claim Illinois personal injury lawyers first degree murder Illinois insurance lawyer Landlord Tenant Ordinance Des Plaines motorcycle accident attorney Rolling Meadows drunk driving statistics Palatine trusts lawyer financial advisors license suspension life insurance claims Long Grove real estate attorney Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act Barrington estate planning attorney Crystal Lake pedestrian accident lawyer Schaumburg insurance lawyers Illinois criminal defense attorney Illinois traffic attorneys deadly crashes Des Plaines injury law firm Palatine injury attorney Palatine drug lawyer Long Grove estate planning Illinois employee rights attorney. Rolling Meadows employment law attorney social media after death Arlington Heights pedestrian accidents Jay Andrew pedestrian accidents Arlington Heights personal injury attorney insurance claim delay car accident lawyer construction accidents Arlington Heights Traffic Lawyer premises liability Rolling Meadows medical malpractice lawyers golf accidents Illinois registered agent pedestrian accident commercial leases Rolling Meadows personal injury attorney Palatine Attorney operating agreements loss of consortium cell phone Arlington Heights injury attorney driving Illinois jet ski accident lawyer Barrington criminal lawyer consent to a search Rolling Meadows personal injury lawyer Arlington Heights employment attorney Palatine personal injury lawyer probate process Deer Park real estate law firm Thanksgiving Barrington real estate lawyer Barrington estate planning lawyer Rolling Meadows Traffic Lawyer Palatine employment lawyer Illinois insurance claims lawyers Illinois employment lawyer home inspection lawyer estate planning, digital assets, Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, Illinois digital assets, Illinois estate planning, drug possession Deer Park criminal attorney Arlington Heights trucking lawyer denial of life insurance Inverness real estate attorney Illinois traffic accident lawyer car crash injuries Rolling Meadows marijuana attorney subcontractor Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission Buffalo Grove traffic lawyers product liability Des Plaines criminal attorney jet ski accidents Illinois Probate Act of 1975 Palatine traffic accidents Crystal Lake traffic attorney Crystal Lake personal injury lawyer DUI attorney Schaumburg criminal law attorney Palatine law firm Inverness real estate lawyer Crystal Lake pet attorney fault based insurance Arlington Heights wills and trusts attorney Illinois trucking safety Policy Cancellation Illinois lawyer license revocation Illinois estate planning law firm Schaumburg probate attorney Illinois employment attorneys DNR right to work boating DUI Deer Park personal injury lawyer forming a corporation in Illinois