CMN’s Mercy in Action Project seeks to promote clemency for those facing imminent execution. By joining the Mercy in Action Project you will receive monthly alerts with information on upcoming executions and tools to advocate for clemency in those cases as well as prayerful resources.
In the Catholic tradition, both personal and communal liturgical prayer are sources of spiritual strength for living out the pro-life commitment to which the Gospel of Jesus Christ calls us. Click here to download a prayer vigil on the day of an execution. Our prayer is often a source of strength for others as well, particularly as we pray for those to be executed, their families, the victims and the victim’s families.
What is clemency?
Before an execution can be carried out, the defendant is offered a final chance to appeal for a reduction, halt, or elimination of sentence from either the Governor or the state board of pardons and paroles. The Governor and board hear arguments from the defendant’s lawyers and family members, the prosecution, the victim’s family, other concerned parties, and the public.
How is clemency granted?
Clemency processes are handled differently according to state procedures but the Governor or a board of pardon and paroles typically considers clemency appeals. In some states, the board of pardons and paroles, a group of appointed private citizens, has sole authority to grant clemency. In others, the Governor must receive a recommendation from the board before she can grant clemency in a particular case. In other states, the Governor may grant clemency as she sees fit.
What arguments are considered for clemency?
Clemency is granted on the judgment of the board and the governor.
Common reasons include:
- Claims of innocence
- The defendant’s rehabilitation
- Flawed original trials
- Requests for mercy from the public
- Misgivings about the death penalty system
How you can get involved
Sign up for Mercy in Action Clemency Project below and start receiving alerts. Your monthly update will include upcoming executions, contact information for state governors and parole boards, a sample clemency request letter, and prayer resources. Let’s demonstrate Christ’s mercy for the prisoner.