Bredesen Grants 22 Pardons, 4 Commutations, 1 Exoneration

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Governor Phil Bredesen on Tuesday granted 22 pardons, four commutations and one exoneration.

The commutations included the commutation of the sentence for death row inmate Edward Jerome Harbison to life without the possibility of parole in connection with the 1983 murder of Mrs. Frank Russell.

None of these actions results in the release of any person from prison, officials said.

All of the pardons related to cases committed some time ago and in each case sentences have been served or probationary periods completed, it was stated.

Sixteen of the pardons are granted at the recommendation of the Board of Probation and Parole (BOPP). An additional seven pardons concern cases where the BOPP had declined a review because the technical requirements set by the governor had not been met. No pardons were issued against the recommendation of the BOPP.

The other three commutations were to make the individuals eligible to be considered for parole in August 2012.

There was one exoneration of an individual, where the alleged victim recanted her testimony and the district attorney dismissed the charges.

"I've looked at these cases for a long time," said Governor Bredesen. "I believe they represent a responsible and humane exercise of the governor's power and best serve the interests of fairness and justice."

Definition of Terms

Executive Clemency: An act of mercy or leniency providing relief from certain consequence of a criminal conviction. The Executive Clemency power includes commutation, pardon, exoneration and reprieve.

Pardon: A statement of forgiveness.

Commutation: A substitution of a lesser sentence for a greater sentence.

Exoneration: A declaration of innocence that requires written, legal documentation.

Bredesen Executive Clemency Cases 1/11/11


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