Welcome to the ABA Capital Clemency Resource Initiative (CCRI) Clearinghouse
“Clemency is deeply rooted in our Anglo-American tradition of law, and is the historic remedy for preventing miscarriages of justice where judicial process has been exhausted.” Herrera v. Collins, 506 U.S. 390, 411-12 (1993).
“A pardon is an act of grace, proceeding from the power entrusted with the execution of the laws, which exempts the individual, on whom it is bestowed, from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has committed.” United States v. Wilson, 32 U.S. (7 Pet.) 150 (1833).
Clemency serves a vital role in our death penalty system by acting as a “fail-safe” to prevent unjust executions. Prior to the execution of a death-sentenced prisoner, each state provides for the consideration of clemency, enabling a governor, executive board, or both, to conduct a review of the case and grant a reprieve, pardon, or commutation.
Despite its longstanding roots and significance in the American death penalty process, clemency historically has received relatively little focus compared to other stages of a capital case. As a result, resources available to actors in the clemency process lag far behind those provided for the investigation, trial, or appeal of capital cases. Additionally, there is not enough public information about how the clemency process works in different jurisdictions. This lack of information and resources necessarily affects the quality of representation that individuals undergoing clemency review receive, as well as detracts from decision makers’ ability to give informed and reasoned consideration to the oftentimes complex legal, factual, and moral issues raised in clemency petitions.
To make this key phase of a capital case more meaningful and fair, the ABA Capital Clemency Resource Initiative (CCRI), housed within the ABA’s Death Penalty Representation Project, has created this online Clearinghouse to distribute much needed educational, practical, and historical materials relating to clemency in death penalty cases.
On this Site
This website is geared to information about clemency in death penalty cases only. Although this information occasionally overlaps with the clemency process for non-capital crimes, these materials are only geared towards providing information in capital cases.
Resource Materials & Information: Public
For members of the public interested in learning more about clemency in death penalty cases, we provide information on individual states’ death penalty clemency processes via our state pages and periodically also provide updates on significant clemency news and developments via short blog posts. Some of the downloadable resources on this site (including many historical clemency petitions and executive statements) are also publicly available.
Please note that while we try to update this site as frequently as possible, information will only be current as of the noted “date last updated” on each page.
Resource Materials: Attorneys
Many of the resource materials on this website are specifically geared to attorneys representing death-sentenced prisoners and are only available if you have registered as a capital defender and are logged in. The resources hosted on this site are tagged for keyword and subject matter using the search function.
Some materials fall into several different categories; for example, a clemency petition that touches on mental illness, domestic abuse, and prosecutorial misconduct will appear when searching for any one of those tagged subject areas. The search function will allow you to narrow geographical focus as well as resource type, so as to better refine your search. Throughout the site, you will find a wide range of resources and materials relevant to capital clemency, including: state-by-state capital clemency information; clemency petitions, decisions, and supplemental materials; academic and general-interest articles; as well as training materials and practice guides.
If you are the author of a document available on this site and would like us to remove it, please send an email to with the name of the document and, if possible, the web address (URL) where you found the document. If you would like us to remove only specific versions/years of the document, please specify. We will remove the document(s) as quickly as possible upon receipt of your message and respond with confirmation that they are no longer available on the site.
How to Register
To register for this site, please visit our registration page here. In the registration fields that follow, be sure to provide us with the following information so that we can determine the appropriate level of resource access for you.
Whether you are actively representing a clemency petitioner
Reason for interest in viewing practitioner materials
Certain materials will only be available to users who have registered as capital defenders. If you do not provide your full institutional affiliation and/or reason for wanting to view these materials, you will not be granted access to all of the resources available. Please contact us with any questions or concerns about this process.