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


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