General Laws of Massachusetts - Chapter 127 Officers and Inmates of Penal and Reformatory Institutions. Paroles and Pardons - Section 152 Pardons by governor; petition; advisory board; hearing; revocation of pardon; annual list

Section 152. In a case in which the governor is authorized by the constitution to grant a pardon, he may, with the advice and consent of the council, and upon the written petition of the petitioner, grant it, subject to such conditions, restrictions and limitations as he considers proper, and he may issue his warrant to all proper officers to carry such pardon into effect. Such warrant shall be obeyed and executed instead of the sentence originally awarded.

If a sentence of death is imposed on a child under seventeen years of age, and if, before he reaches the age of seventeen, the governor pardons such child and commits him to the care of the department of youth services, said department shall assume control over him subject to the provisions of sections seventeen to twenty, inclusive, of chapter one hundred and twenty.

Every pardon petition shall, before its presentation to the governor, be filed with the parole board, acting as the advisory board of pardons, together with all statements and signatures appended thereto, and shall thereupon become a public record. Upon receipt, the advisory board of pardons shall process each petition in accordance with the applicable provisions of section one hundred and fifty-four.

In the case of a prisoner confined under sentence for a felony, no final action or vote shall be taken on such petition until after a public hearing has been held by the council. Such hearing shall be held as soon as practicable after the filing of such petition with the council. Any action taken by the council on such petition shall be taken by a roll call vote of the members present, recording and voting as yea or nay. The presence of a quorum and the vote of the majority of all members of the council present shall be necessary for the approval or disapproval of a petition. Within three days after such vote of the council, a certified copy of such roll call shall be filed with the state secretary for public inspection.

Upon approval of a petition for pardon, the governor shall direct all proper officers to seal all records relating to the offense for which the person received the pardon. Such sealed records shall not disqualify a person in any examination, appointment or application for employment or other benefit, public or private, including, but not limited to, licenses, credit or housing, nor shall such sealed record be admissible in evidence or used in any way in any court proceeding or hearing before any board, commission or other agency except in imposing sentence in subsequent criminal proceedings or in any court proceeding or hearing in which an individual is accused of violating sections one, thirteen, thirteen B, 13B1/2, 13B3/4, thirteen C, thirteen F, thirteen G, thirteen H, fourteen, fifteen, fifteen A, fifteen B, sixteen, eighteen, eighteen A, eighteen B, twenty-two, twenty-two A, 22B, 22C, twenty-three, 23A, 23B, twenty-four, twenty-four B and twenty-six of chapter two hundred and sixty-five. On any application or in an interview for employment, or in any other circumstances, where a person is asked whether he has been convicted of an offense, a person who has received a pardon for such offense may answer in the negative. The attorney general and the person so pardoned may enforce the provisions of this paragraph by an action commenced in the superior court department of the trial court.

The governor, with the advice and consent of the council, may at any time revoke any pardon if he, with such advice and consent, determines that there is a misstatement of a material fact knowingly made at the time of the filing of the written petition of the petitioner, or that such pardon was procured by fraud, concealment or misrepresentation or that any provision of this section has not been complied with, and upon such revocation the governor may issue his warrant to all proper officers to take the person so pardoned into custody and return him to the institution where he was imprisoned at the time of the granting of the pardon.

Such warrant shall be obeyed and executed by the officers to whom it is issued, and the person whose pardon has been so revoked shall have the same standing in the penal institution to which he is returned as he would have had if said pardon had not been granted, except that the time during which he has been out of said penal institution upon such pardon, shall not be counted in determining the amount of his sentence remaining to be served upon such return to such institution.

The governor shall, at the end of each calendar year, transmit to the general court, by filing with the clerk of either branch, a list of pardons granted with the advice and consent of the council during such calendar year, together with action of the advisory board of pardons concerning each such pardon, and together with a list of any revocations of pardons made under this section.

The word “pardon” as used in this section shall be deemed to include any exercise of the pardoning power except a respite from sentence.

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Last modified: September 11, 2015