Gov. Murphy Signs Executive Order to Expedite Clemency Applications, Provide Second Chances

Governor Phil Murphy – who has not pardoned anyone since taking office – today signed Executive Order No. 362, outlining a new initiative to expedite clemency applications for certain individuals, including those with non-violent convictions, excessive trial penalties, and victims of domestic or sexual violence. The goal is to address inequities in the criminal legal system and provide relief to those deserving of a second chance.

The Executive Order establishes a Clemency Advisory Board, the first of its kind in state history, to review applications and make recommendations to the Governor. The board comprises diverse members with expertise in criminal justice and clemency, including a designee of the Attorney General and public members from the defense bar and advocacy communities.

Governor Murphy emphasized the significance of this initiative, particularly on Juneteenth, a day celebrating the journey toward racial justice for Black and Brown Americans. He pledged to take a responsible and equity-driven approach to pardons and commutations, prioritizing the most compelling cases.

Lt. Governor Tahesha Way also praised the initiative, saying it provides second chances for individuals failed by the criminal justice system and marks another step forward in the struggle for racial justice.

The Clemency Advisory Board will consider applications from individuals who have remained free from justice system involvement for a sufficient time, those serving excessive sentences, and victims of domestic or sexual violence incarcerated for crimes against their perpetrators.

The Murphy Administration has implemented several initiatives to provide second chances for individuals involved in the justice system, including banning the box in housing, restoring voting rights, and creating a petition process for “clean slate” expungements.

A new website, (link unavailable), has been launched to provide information on the Governor’s executive clemency initiative and access to application materials for attorneys and self-represented individuals.

This new initiative solidifies New Jersey’s standing as one of the nation’s most progressive criminal justice systems, providing a path towards redemption and reintegration for those deserving of a second chance.

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