Commute vs Pardon: Difference and Comparison

Some recent presidential pardons and commutes have caused quite a stir in the media these days. Both of these lawsuits are classified as post-conviction remedies.

Here’s what you need to know about the distinctions between having your sentence commuted and receiving a pardon.

Key Takeaways

  1. Commute means to travel regularly between work and home, while pardon means to forgive or excuse someone for a wrongdoing.
  2. The commute is a verb, while pardon can be a noun or a verb.
  3. A commute is a routine activity, while a pardon is a legal or moral action.

Commute vs Pardon

Commuting means travelling from one place to another through vehicles or transport daily for work purposes. Pardon refers to forgiving an individual who is convicted of some bad deed. It is a legal act of forgiving and setting an individual free.

Commute vs Pardon
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Commutes are when a prisoner’s sentence is reduced. In certain circumstances, this might result in them being released from prison far sooner than they had anticipated.

A commutation, on the other hand, provides no other form of relief to the condemned person.

Their fines and reparations must be paid, and they may suffer voting or gun ownership limitations. It likewise has no effect on them.

Pardon implies that a prisoner’s term has come to an end and that the rights they lost as a result of their conviction have been returned (such as the right to run for office or carry a gun).

Many people are astonished to hear that a pardon does not erase the defendant’s record or proclaim them innocent.

A pardon may result in the removal of penalties, reparations, or forfeitures in various circumstances (if remission was also granted).

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonCommutePardon
DefinitionThe process of partially or completely lowering an offender’s sentence term, by subtracting time already served so that they can be freed from jail, is known as commuting. Pardon refers to a government’s decision to offer mercy to someone who has completed his term and believes he was wrongly condemned.
Civil RightsIt doesn’t eliminate a federal convictionRestores civil rights to offenders.
AimA commutation occurs when a sentence is reduced in length.A presidential pardon absolves a criminal after the sentence has been served.
CrimeReduces the time a person who has been convicted of a crime will spend in prison or on probation. A pardon is the complete forgiveness of a crime.
InnocenceImplyDoesn’t Imply

What is a Commute?

A president, like a governor, can give commutations (or by the state governor in a process called clemency).

Changes in state legislation have resulted in sentences being commuted in some circumstances, such as when a state abolishes the capital penalty and commutes all remaining death row convicts to life in prison.

Commutations are when a prisoner’s sentence is reduced. In certain circumstances, this might result in them being released from prison far sooner than they had anticipated.

A commutation, on the other hand, provides no other form of relief to the condemned person.

Their fines and reparations must be paid, and they may suffer voting or gun ownership limitations. It also makes no difference to their criminal record.

For the most part, it’s best not to put your faith in the possibility of receiving a pardon or having your sentence reduced. This is an uncommon occurrence.

It’s considerably better to focus on developing a strong defence plan if you’ve been charged with a federal offence.

What is Pardon?

Pradon is when the government forgives someone who has completed his term and believes he has been wrongly convicted.

Although it does not absolve the convicts of the crime for which they were convicted, it does restore civil rights, such as the ability to vote and run for office.

Acceptance of the offence by the offender and good behaviour from the time of conviction until release is required for a pardon.

A pardon is intended to show forgiveness for a specific act, either because a person was wrongly convicted or because the sentence was insufficient for the crime committed.

When it is determined that the sentence imposed is too severe, the sentence will be commuted.

Commutation is frequently used to commute a death sentence to life in prison. If more information is needed to determine whether a person should serve a sentence, he may be sentenced to probation.

This is also used in cases involving the death penalty.

Main Differences Between Commute and Pardon

  1. The process of partially or completely lowering an offender’s sentence term, by subtracting time already served so that they can be freed from jail, is known as commuting. Pardon, on the other hand, refers to a government’s decision to offer mercy to someone who has completed his term and believes he was wrongly condemned.
  2. While a commute does not remove a federal conviction and therefore does not restore a person’s civil rights, a pardon does restore civil rights to offenders, including the ability to vote and run for office.
  3. A presidential pardon absolves a criminal after the sentence has been served, whereas A commutation occurs when a sentence is reduced in length.
  4. Reduces the time a person who has been convicted of a crime will spend in prison or on probation, whereas A pardon is complete forgiveness of a crime.
  5. Pardon implies innocence, whereas Commute doesn’t.
Difference Between Commute and Pardon
References
  1. https://www.policyarchive.org/handle/10207/12255
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/fsr.2000.13.3-4.147

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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