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n. pl. Clemencies. Disposition to forgive and spare, as offenders; mildness of temper; gentleness; tenderness; mercy. Mildness or softness of the elements; as, the clemency of the season.


The term 'clemency' refers not only to full or conditional pardons, but also commutations, remissions of fines, and reprieves. See Kobil, The Quality of Mercy Strained: Wresting the Pardoning Power from the King, 69 Texas L. Rev. 569, 575-578 (1991).


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.


In England, the clemency power was vested in the Crown and can be traced back to the 700's. W. Humbert, The Pardoning Power of the President 9 (1941). Blackstone thought this 'one of the great advantages of monarchy in general, above any other form of government; that there is a magistrate, who has it in his power to extend mercy, wherever he thinks it is deserved: holding a court of equity in his own breast, to soften the rigour of the general law, in such criminal cases as merit an exemption from punishment.' 4 W. Blackstone, Commentaries *397. Clemency provided the ...

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