Pardons of criminals in Georgia is limited

According to Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles, inmates cannot be pardoned and let out of jail in Georgia / From file

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is drawing attention after issuing pardons for murderers. It made our viewers ask in our Facebook Story of the Day if Georgia's governor could issue pardons.

Steve Hayes, spokesperson for the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles says the governor can't but the board can. The catch, he says, is that only criminals who have completed their sentence can apply for a pardon.

The chair of the criminal justice and forensic science department at Albany State University says pardons are rare in the state.

"In most cases they do not pardon murderers and killers. Gov. Barbour kind of went overboard by doing what he did but it's very rare in Georgia," says Dr. Charles Ochie Sr. with ASU.

Hayes says that pardons in Georgia do not expunge a criminal record. He says a certificate is issued for instances where someone with a criminal record can present it when applying for jobs. Hayes says the pardon is also listed on a person's record when a background check is done.

Hayes says there is a "pardon for innocence" where if new evidence exonerates a convict, they can be pardoned. He says it's only happened twice â" once in the 1990s and once in the 1980s â" since the board was established in 1943; neither were murder cases.

For more information about applying for pardons, visit the following website.

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