Code of the District of Columbia

Chapter 4A. Clemency Board.


§ 24–481.01. Short title.

This chapter may be cited as the "Clemency Board Establishment Act of 2018".


(Dec. 13, 2018, D.C. Law 22-197, § 201, 65 DCR 9554.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) creation of this chapter, see §§ 3111 through 3118 of the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2018, effective July 30, 2018 (D.C. Act 22-434; 65 DCR 8200).


§ 24–481.02. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the term:

(1) "Board" means the Clemency Board established in § 24-481.03.

(2) "Clemency" means the power of the President of the United States to modify an individual's criminal sentence through either commutation or pardon.

(3) "Commutation" means a reduction in a sentence or fine imposed on an individual.

(4) "District offenders" means a person convicted of violating a District law or regulation.

(5) "EOM" means the Executive Office of the Mayor.

(6) "Pardon" means the removal of collateral consequences associated with the punishment imposed on an individual, usually granted to restore an individual's civil rights.


(Dec. 13, 2018, D.C. Law 22-197, § 202, 65 DCR 9554.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) creation of this chapter, see §§ 3111 through 3118 of the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2018, effective July 30, 2018 (D.C. Act 22-434; 65 DCR 8200).


§ 24–481.03. Establishment and duties.

(a) There is established a Clemency Board within the EOM to review the applications of District offenders and determine which applicants to recommend to the President of the United States for clemency. The EOM's General Counsel shall provide staff, office space, and administrative support to the Board.

(b) The Board shall:

(1) Develop criteria and an application for clemency recommendations and publicize the application procedure;

(2) Review each application and determine, within 6 months after a complete application is received, whether to recommend the application to the President of the United States;

(3) Consider both cases of actual innocence and cases of those who are remorseful and can show that they have been rehabilitated;

(4) Give special consideration to applicants who are terminally ill or elderly, or who no longer present a danger to the community;

(5) Develop criteria for the consideration of an applicant's background, which may include procedures by which the Board obtains information from outside organizations that the applicant has interacted with;

(6) Whenever feasible, conduct in-person, telephone, or video conference hearings with applicants;

(7) Allow applicants to have access to an attorney or non-attorney representative at any hearing before the Board;

(8) When the Board decides to recommend an application to the President of the United States:

(A) Send the application, along with a narrative describing why the Board recommended the application, to the Office of the Pardon Attorney and to the President of the United States; and

(B) Provide notification, to include the applicant's name, to the Chairman of the Council and the chairperson of the Council committee with jurisdiction over judiciary matters; and

(9) Track and publish the number of applications the Board grants and denies, including the number of applications recommended to the President of the United States, in an annual report to the Council and on the EOM's website; provided, that the annual report shall exclude personally identifiable information.


(Dec. 13, 2018, D.C. Law 22-197, § 203, 65 DCR 9554.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) creation of this chapter, see §§ 3111 through 3118 of the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2018, effective July 30, 2018 (D.C. Act 22-434; 65 DCR 8200).


§ 24–481.04. Composition.

(a) The Board shall consist of the following members:

(1) Five individuals appointed by the Mayor pursuant to § 1-523.01(e), with the following qualifications:

(A) One member with a background in returning citizen issues;

(B) One mental-health professional;

(C) One member with a background in victim's rights;

(D) One member of the District of Columbia Bar in good standing, with experience in criminal law; and

(E) One District resident community member;

(2) The Attorney General for the District of Columbia, or the Attorney General's designee; and

(3) The chairperson of the Council committee with jurisdiction over judiciary and public safety matters, or the chairperson's designee.

(b) In addition to the members described in subsection (a) of this section, the Mayor shall invite the Director of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, or the Director's designee, and the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, or the United States Attorney's designee, to participate as members of the Board.

(c) The Board shall select a chairperson from among the members appointed pursuant to subsection (a)(1) of this section.

(d)(1) At the first meeting of the Board, the Board shall determine what constitutes a quorum for the transaction of business.

(2) Applications for clemency shall be approved for recommendation to the President of the United States by a majority vote of the members present and voting.

(e)(1) Board members appointed pursuant to subsection (a)(1) of this section shall serve for terms of 4 years, except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection.

(2) Of the members initially appointed under subsection (a)(1) of this section, 3 members shall be appointed to serve for a 4-year term and 2 members shall be appointed to serve for a 3-year term. The terms of the members first appointed pursuant to subsection (a)(1) of this section shall begin on the date by which a majority of the members appointed pursuant to subsection (a)(1) of this section are sworn in, which shall become the anniversary date for all subsequent appointments.


(Dec. 13, 2018, D.C. Law 22-197, § 204, 65 DCR 9554.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) creation of this chapter, see §§ 3111 through 3118 of the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2018, effective July 30, 2018 (D.C. Act 22-434; 65 DCR 8200).


§ 24–481.05. Eligibility for a clemency recommendation.

(a) All District offenders shall be eligible to apply for a clemency recommendation from the Board.

(b) No application for a clemency recommendation shall be filed pursuant to this chapter if other forms of judicial or administrative relief are available based on existing law and already-discovered evidence.

(c) The application criteria developed by the Board, pursuant to § 24-481.03(b)(1), for applicants seeking a pardon shall require the applicant to:

(1) Before applying, wait 5 years after the date of the release of the applicant from confinement or, in case no prison sentence was imposed, wait 5 years after the date of the conviction of the applicant;

(2) Not have been convicted of any other criminal offense that is relevant to the conviction for which the applicant seeks clemency, as determined by the Board;

(3) Not be subject to any pending criminal charge that is relevant to the conviction for which the applicant seeks clemency, as determined by the Board;

(4) Not be a party to a past or pending civil case that is relevant to the conviction for which the applicant seeks clemency, as determined by the Board;

(5) Demonstrate that the applicant has been rehabilitated; and

(6) Describe how the receipt of a pardon would help the applicant achieve his or her goals and contribute to the community.

(d) The application criteria developed by the Board, pursuant to § 24-481.03(b)(1), for applicants seeking a commutation shall require the applicant to:

(1) Demonstrate that the applicant has been rehabilitated; and

(2) Describe how commutation would help the applicant achieve his or her goals and contribute to the community.

(e) An applicant shall be given special consideration if the sentencing scheme, including a mandatory-minimum sentence, for the offense for which he or she was convicted was changed to provide for less severe penalties after the applicant was convicted under the sentencing scheme.


(Dec. 13, 2018, D.C. Law 22-197, § 205, 65 DCR 9554.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) creation of this chapter, see §§ 3111 through 3118 of the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2018, effective July 30, 2018 (D.C. Act 22-434; 65 DCR 8200).


§ 24–481.06. Confidentiality of proceedings.

(a) Proceedings of the Board shall be subject to subchapter IV of Chapter 5 of Title 2, except that the Board shall hold closed sessions when:

(1) Considering applications for clemency recommendations; or

(2) Discussing matters that would allow for the identity of any person who is a subject of the discussion, other than a person who has expressly consented to be identified, to be ascertained.

(b)(1) Persons other than Board members who attend any Board meeting that is closed to the public shall not disclose what occurred at the meeting to anyone who was not in attendance, except insofar as disclosure is necessary for that person to comply with a request for information from the Board.

(2) Board members who attend closed meetings shall not disclose what occurred with anyone who was not in attendance (except other Board members), except insofar as disclosure is necessary to carry out the duties of the Board.


(Dec. 13, 2018, D.C. Law 22-197, § 206, 65 DCR 9554.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) creation of this chapter, see §§ 3111 through 3118 of the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2018, effective July 30, 2018 (D.C. Act 22-434; 65 DCR 8200).


§ 24–481.07. Confidentiality of information.

(a) Except as provided by this section, information and records of the Board shall not be disclosed voluntarily, pursuant to a subpoena, in response to a request for discovery in any adjudicative proceeding, or in response to a request made under subchapter II of Chapter 5 of Title 2, nor shall they be introduced into evidence in any administrative, civil, or criminal proceeding.

(b)(1) Information and records of the Board may be disclosed by members of the Board only as necessary to carry out the Board's duties and purposes.

(2) A member of the Board who discloses information pursuant to this chapter shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that the information disclosed, and the persons to whom the information is disclosed, are as limited as possible.

(c) Information and records presented to the Board shall not be immune from subpoena or request for discovery in an adjudicative proceeding or prohibited from being introduced into evidence solely because the information and records were presented to the Board, if the information and records have been obtained through sources other than the Board or its members.


(Dec. 13, 2018, D.C. Law 22-197, § 207, 65 DCR 9554.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) creation of this chapter, see §§ 3111 through 3118 of the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2018, effective July 30, 2018 (D.C. Act 22-434; 65 DCR 8200).


§ 24–481.08. Rules.

The Mayor, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2, may issue rules to implement the provisions of this chapter.


(Dec. 13, 2018, D.C. Law 22-197, § 208, 65 DCR 9554.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) creation of this chapter, see §§ 3111 through 3118 of the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2018, effective July 30, 2018 (D.C. Act 22-434; 65 DCR 8200).