There are many factors including patience, but four factors stand out to me when I write a pardon applications that carry the day in determining whether my client will get the pardon.
What actually happened? The truth. Its very important that we write up the application that shows the truth from the incident. At the hearing, the board regularly questions the applicant over the actual facts from the incident. Further, since the beginning of 2014, we have been attaching an certified copy of the paperwork from the case from the Court of Common Pleas from the county of the arrest and conviction. Therefore, the Board of Pardons has an actual copy of the affidavit of probable cause. They know exactly what the complainant said in the case and exactly what the police wrote-up in the case. Also, if the police officer is the complainant, like in a Possession with the Intent to Deliver case, the officer is putting his own words directly on that piece of paper and they read the paperwork before the hearing. If you are going to disagree with whatever is written in the affidavit of probable cause, make sure you have backup to your writing.
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WHY ARE YOU SEEKING A PARDON?
This may seem like a very straight forward question: because I don’t want to have a record. Understood. However, there are many reason you are now seeking it now as opposed to last year or next year. What in your mind made you decide that now was the time to seek a pardon. What is going on in your life or work that made you hire me to write up this whole application and go through this whole process? There are many good answers to this question, but more often I hear: work/job, religious, sobriety, final acceptant of responsibility, or the conviction has been weighing on your mind for too long.
WHY DO YOU DESERVE A PARDON?
This is a hard question. Often some soul searching is needed to articulate why you deserve a pardon. The answer is either you made a mistake and you want a second chance, or that you did not commit the crime for which you were convicted and finally want the truth to be heard. I have written very different answers to this question and everyone is unique, but whatever we write, the answer must be very genuine and true. We have also conducted video depositions to answer this question so as to augment the original paperwork with the original witnesses of the case, now on video. The answer is like thin ice, but if we skate carefully we can make the whole application.
WHAT HAVE YOU FOR THE COMMUNITY?
Do you volunteer? Are a good doer? Where do you volunteer? Anything and everything counts in this section. I have written about church, senior homes, book drives, little league baseball, volunteer firemen, extra curricular school sponsors, etc. Anything that shows you volunteer your time or donate something to a charity is very good. I also encourage people to link up the entire application with this answer. Talking about how your volunteerism has helped you deal with the conviction is a major plus. Some of the best most creative application have come through because of the answer to this question.
National Pardon Canada gives real answers that hit these four points, you have a real chance at getting a pardon.