Pardons and Commutations


Individuals who have been convicted of a crime in California may apply to the Governor for a gubernatorial pardon. A gubernatorial pardon is an honor that may be granted to people who have demonstrated exemplary behavior following their conviction. A pardon will not be granted unless it has been earned. Historically, governors have granted very few pardons.

For most people, the first step in applying for a pardon is to obtain a Certificate of Rehabilitation from the Superior Court in the county where the applicant currently lives. People who live outside of California and people who are ineligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation must use the Application for Gubernatorial Pardon. The procedure utilized will depend on the circumstances of each applicant.

Instructions on how to apply for a pardon can be found here: How to Apply for a Pardon

Download a copy of the pardon application from here: Application for Gubernatorial Pardon


Inmates currently serving a sentence for a conviction by the California Courts can petition to have their sentence reduced or eliminated by applying for a commutation of sentence.

A copy of the Application for Commutation of Sentence can be found here: Application for Commutation of Sentence