Sept. 23, 2013

There’s a bit of an update out of Raleigh on Junior Chandler’s prospects for clemency.

Billy Chandler, Junior’s brother, received this email last week from Pat Hansen in the Governor’s Clemency Office:

“Attorney Mark Montgomery filed a commutation request with this office at the end of Governor Perdue’s term in office.  However, due to the volume of requests received, the request was not ‘officially reopened.’  Currently, we are working on all of the cases held over from the Perdue Administration.  Unfortunately, I cannot tell you when your brother’s case will be reviewed.”

In North Carolina the governor’s clemency power covers both pardons and commutations. Here’s the stated distinction:

“Commutation – whereby an individual presently incarcerated and serving an active sentence has their sentence commuted or reduced by any number of years, months, or days, or to make parole eligible, or to time served which would release the individual immediately.

“Pardon – may be granted to those individuals who have maintained a good reputation in their community, following the completion of their sentence for a criminal offense.  Ordinarily, an applicant must wait to apply until at least five years have elapsed since the applicant was released from State supervision (including probation or parole).  A Pardon is merely an official statement attached to the criminal record that states that the State of North Carolina has pardoned the crime. A Pardon does not expunge or erase a criminal record….”

As much as the facts of Junior’s case call for a pardon, a commutation seems not quite as steep a challenge. However great “the volume of requests received,” Junior Chandler’s surely deserves to be at the top of the stack.