Michigan Governors commuted 316 sentences from 1969 to 2011.  Of those 316, 182 were from the end of Governor Granholm’s term.  As Governor Snyder’s term comes to a close next year, now may be the right time to prepare your application for submission to the Parole Board.

The commutation process in Michigan starts with an application.  Although the application is only six questions, filling it out with comprehensive, complete answers is vital to the outcome of your case.  At Professional Probation and Parole Consulting, we have the experience and expertise to help you as you complete this application process.

You’ve completed your application. What’s next?

Next, the application is submitted to the parole board for review. The 10-member parole board has 60 days to review the application and decide by majority whether or not to open the case to a public hearing. If they decide the application doesn’t have merit to hold a public hearing, the case goes directly to the governor for review.  If the board does grant a hearing, they notify the judge and prosecutor. The judge and prosecutor have 30 days to submit any comments or objections to the parole board to review before moving forward with the hearing.

If the board chooses to continue with the process, they give 30 days’ notice to the judge and prosecutor, the Governor, the Attorney General, all registered victims, and the prisoner. Then, it is posted online on the MDOC website.  During the 30 days, crime victims can submit comments to the board for review. The board begins a parole placement investigation on commutation cases, and the Attorney General receives the materials for review in preparation for the public hearing.

At the public hearing, an Assistant Attorney General, the board’s Chairperson, and any other members of the board in attendance may question the prisoner or petitioner applicant on all relevant issues. Members of the public, as well as any victims or victim representatives may testify in support of or opposition to the applicant’s clemency. The public hearing is recorded and a transcript of the proceeding is completed after the hearing, with a copy submitted to the Attorney General.

The case is then referred back to the board for a final executive meeting where they vote on a recommendation to the Governor, taking into account all information received during the process and the public hearing. After reaching a majority vote, the board’s recommendation and all relevant materials, including the public hearing transcript and other pertinent documents, are delivered to the Office of the Governor.

The Governor and his legal staff review the application materials and the recommendations of the board to determine whether executive clemency is warranted. The applicant and the board are notified when a final determination is made.

Should the Governor grant the commutation request, the board assumes jurisdiction over the case and votes on a parole. If the parole board agrees with the commutation, the parole term would be for a period of four years. The applicant would be released pending a 28-day notice period, during which the board notifies the sentencing or successor sentencing judge, prosecutor, and any registered victims.