Pardons are an executive power granted to the governor by Chapter 11, section 20 of the Vermont Constitution. The governor may use this power to forgive or mitigate punishment of a crime for all state offences except treason. Pardons are not subject to review of the courts because the act of pardoning is considered an extraordinary act and each governor has generated his or her own criteria for requesting and receiving a pardon. A pardon may be conditional, which allows the governor to place any type of condition on the pardon, or unconditional, also known as “free and unconditional pardon.” Until 1972, the Department of Corrections and the Vermont Parole Board routinely recommended individuals to receive conditional pardons. After 1972, the probation system was reorganized and that practice was discontinued.
The following list consists of pardons granted from Governor Harold J. Arthur’s term in 1950 through the end of Governor Peter Shumlin’s term in 2017. Historical pardons and other documents relating to pardons may be found with executive records of each governor and in the Manuscript Vermont State Papers. Contact our Reference Room for more information.