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Governor DeWine Expands Expedited Pardon Project to Include Law Partners in Cleveland, Dayton, and Cincinnati

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) - Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced the expansion of the Ohio Governor’s Expedited Pardon Project, which eliminates administrative hurdles and provides free one-on-one help for qualified citizens seeking legal absolution for past criminal offenses. 

Governor DeWine launched the Ohio Governor's Expedited Pardon Project in 2019 in partnership with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, and the University of Akron School of Law to fast-track the pardon applications of specific candidates who have become law-abiding and contributing members of society.

The expansion of the program enlists new law partners to reach more potential pardon candidates and to help guide candidates through the pardon process. The new partners include:

  • Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
  • University of Dayton School of Law
  • Ohio Justice & Policy Center in partnership with Univ. of Cincinnati College of Law

“In Ohio, we are tough on crime, but we also recognize that certain mistakes shouldn’t forever haunt those who’ve paid their debt to society and have reformed their lives,” said Governor DeWine. “Although more than a dozen deserving citizens have been pardoned through this expedited process, we know that there are many other people out there who could qualify. By having more partners on board, we can reach more people who are ready for a fresh start.”

Since the project’s launch, 16 applicants have been pardoned with 86 others in various stages of the application process.

The addition of the new law partners is possible due to $1 million in funding allotted in Ohio’s current operating budget by Governor DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly. Each law partner, including the two law schools that worked to establish the program, will receive grant funding to hire additional faculty and staff to oversee the process of screening potential pardon candidates and providing free assistance to those who meet the project’s qualifications.

MORE: Statements from Ohio Governor's Expedited Pardon Project Law Partners

Governor DeWine created the Ohio Governor's Expeditated Pardon Project to encourage more reformed citizens to seek pardons, which can open doors to new career and educational opportunities and improve overall quality of life. The project allows qualified applicants to bypass the traditional pardon application process which is consistently backlogged with requests from those unlikely to be pardoned due to egregious crimes or lack of post-release rehabilitation. 

To apply to participate in the Ohio Governor's Expedited Pardon Project, rehabilitated Ohio citizens must meet the following criteria:

  • The applicant must have been released from court supervision or Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction supervision at least 10 years prior to submitting an expedited pardon application. 
  • The applicant must not have committed any additional crimes (excluding minor traffic citations) in at least the past 10 years.
  • The applicant must have made good faith efforts to meet all requirements of sentencing, such as the payment of fines or restitution.
  • The applicant must have a post-offense employment history or a compelling reason why he or she has not been employed.
  • The applicant must have a history of performing volunteer work and community service.
  • The applicant must not have been convicted of any of the disqualifying offenses outlined below.

Participation in the Ohio Governor’s Expedited Pardon Project does not guarantee a pardon. Applicants who meet the aforementioned criteria will receive an expedited hearing before the Ohio Parole Board, and those impacted by each case, such as victims, families, judges, and prosecutors, will have an opportunity to voice objections to a potential pardon. Applicants who do not qualify for the expedited process may still apply via the traditional route.

For more information on the Ohio Governor’s Expedited Pardon Project and to apply, visit: www.ohioexpeditedpardon.org.