Governor’s Pardons

DSC_4070 copyAttorney Don Vaughan practices in executive clemency and post-conviction work. Don Vaughan has assisted a number of clients in obtaining a Pardon from the Governor of North Carolina. If you’re trying to obtain a pardon, reprieve, or commutation in North Carolina, Don Vaughan and Associates can help. Our experienced Greensboro attorneys will review your criminal case and determine the likelihood of a pardon and advise you on what you may have to do to get the best possible result.

According to the North Carolina Constitution, the “…Governor may grant reprieves, commutations, and pardons, after conviction, for all offenses (except in cases of impeachment), upon such conditions as he may think proper…

“The North Carolina Supreme Court has ruled that the Pardon power applies even when a defendant has been sentenced to death, stating that “Article III, § 5(6), of the Constitution of North Carolina gives to the Governor of this State the authority to commute a death sentence imposed upon any defendant, or to grant to such defendant an absolute pardon, and to refuse to disturb such sentence imposed upon a different defendant.”

governors pardonThere are three types of Pardons that the Governor normally issues in North Carolina:

  1. Pardon of Forgiveness: This Pardon is the one most frequently requested. This Pardon is issued stating that the individual has been pardoned and forgiven of their criminal conviction. This Pardon is granted with certain conditions.
  2. Pardon of Innocence: Pardon granted when an individual has been convicted and the criminal charges are subsequently dismissed. Application for this type of Pardon allows an individual to petition the Governor for a declaration of innocence when the individual has been erroneously convicted and imprisoned and later determined to be innocent. In such cases where this Pardon is granted, an individual is allowed to seek compensation from the State. Please refer to N.C.G.S. § 148-82, regarding Provision for Compensation and N.C.G.S. § 148-84, regarding Evidence; Action by Industrial Commission; Payment and Amount of Compensation.
  3. Unconditional Pardon: Pardon granted primarily to restore an individual’s right to own or possess a firearm. This Pardon is granted without any conditions or restrictions. 3

If you are trying to obtain a Pardon and need the help of an attorney in Greensboro, NC, call Don Vaughan and Associates now at (336) 273-1415 to arrange your initial free consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


  1. N.C. Const. art. III, § 5(6)
  2. State v. Jarrette, 284 N.C. 625, 657 (N.C. 1974)