FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2020
Lt. Gov. John
Fetterman Announces Board of Pardons Schedule Change Due to Novel
While Board of Pardons staff continue to progress through a backlog of
applications for pardons and commutation while working from home, the novel
coronavirus pandemic is causing some in-person hearings to be rescheduled,
Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman announced today.
May’s remote merit review of pending cases will continue as planned, the
public hearings scheduled to be held in the Capitol during the first week
of June must be postponed. The Capitol Complex remains closed to the
public indefinitely due to the pandemic, and some applicants are legally
required to appear before the board at the public hearing.
board must also consider travel plans for applicants, as some parts of the
state might still be closed in June.
the Board of Pardons cannot carry out the required in-person interviews with
inmates who have applied for commutation, as all prisons are closed to
visitors indefinitely to prevent the spread of the virus.
only are we legally fettered by attendance requirements for some
applicants, it would be grossly unfair to inmates who have applied for
commutation to deny them their in-person prison visits and interviews,”
Fetterman said. “I share the frustration of those working to free inmates
who have been incarcerated for too long, but it’s in everyone’s best
interest for our work to be conducted safely and in a manner that gives
applicants the full chance that they deserve to have their requests heard.
This was a difficult but ultimately unavoidable decision."
hearings are expected to be rescheduled for a date to be set within 30 days
of the reopening of the Capitol Complex,
on travel restrictions across the state and applicants’ ability to travel
to the hearings, Fetterman said.
Lieutenant Governor assured inmates and pardon applicants that work on
cases continues behind the scenes. Though working
remotely, board members and staff continue progress through a years-long
case backlog. Several changes that Fetterman instituted during his first
year in office have streamlined the process and are allowing staff to process
cases more quickly.
Kauffman, Lt. Governor’s Office, firstname.lastname@example.org