Clemency

Notable Grants of Clemency

Since 1976, there have been six broad grants of clemency to death row prisoners:

  • Gov. Martin O’Malley in Maryland in 2015 (all inmates)
  • Gov. Pat Quinn in Illinois in 2011 (all inmates), just before signing bill repealing death penalty
  • Gov. Jon Corzine (pictured) in New Jersey in 2007 (all inmates), just before signing bill repealing death penalty
  • Gov. George Ryan in Illinois in 2003 (all inmates)
  • Gov. Richard Celeste in Ohio in 1991 (8 inmates)
  • Gov. Toney Anaya in New Mexico in 1986 (all inmates)

There were six notable grants of broad clemency prior to the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976:

  • Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller (pictured) commuted all death sentences in Arkansas in 1971.
  • Gov. Frank Clement commuted all the death sentences in Tennessee in 1965, after the legislature defeated an abolition bill by a single vote.
  • Gov. Endicott “Chub” Peabody of Massachusetts commuted every death sentence (1962-1964).
  • Gov. Robert D. Holmes of Oregon commuted every death sentence that arose during his term (1957-1959).
  • Gov. Mark Hatfield of Oregon commuted every death sentence after the death penalty was abolished by state referendum in 1964.
  • Gov. Lee Cruce of Oklahoma commuted every death sentence imposed during his administration (1911-1915).

Sources

(Sources: Cathleen Burnett, Justice Denied,” Northeastern University Press, 2002, p. 162 (Ark., Mass., Ore. (Holmes), Okla.); M. Gottschalk, The Prison and the Gallows,” Cambridge Press, 2006, p. 213 (Tenn.); M. Kramer, Oregon’s Death Penalty,” Oregon State Bar Bulletin, Nov. 1996 (Ore.-Hatfield)).