Capital Punishment Clemency Petitions Collection, 1981-2020
- An artificial collection of over 150 clemency petitions filed by inmates from across the United States for the lessening of their death sentence.
- 6 cubic ft. and 170 Digital Files
- English .
- Preferred citation:
- Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Capital Punishment Clemency Petitions Collection, 1981-2020. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as the Clemency Petitions Collection).
Access and Use
- Conditions Governing Access:
Access to this record group is unrestricted.
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- Scope and Content:
The Clemency Petitions Collection includes approximately 150 clemency petitions filed by inmates from across the United States. William J. Bowers originally established this collection as part of his work with The Constitution Project. Later additions were made by the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives. The petition for Joseph Spaziano is from the papers of Michael A. Mello.
The collection was reformatted to PDF files in April-June 2006 and first made availible online. The petition for Joseph Spaziano was reformatted in September 2006 and the petition for Mitchell Terry Mincey was reformatted in 2012.
- Biographical / Historical:
The clemency process varies from state to state and typically involves the governor, a board of advisors, or both. Clemency refers to the lessening of the penalty of the crime without forgiving the crime itself. The act of clemency is a reprieve. Unlike judicial proceedings, claims raised in clemency petitions are free of procedural defaults that can mask error, unfairness, or irrationality in a given death sentence. Petitions thus can reveal what the sentencing authority may not have known because of attorney error, prosecutorial misconduct, newly discovered evidence, or other reasons.
- Acquisition information:
The majority of items in this manuscript group were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, by William Bowers in January 2006. The petition for Joseph Spaziano is from the papers of Michael A. Mello. The Larry Bill Elliott clemency petition was donated in 2010. Skip Hulett, Georgiana Librarian, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia, provided a copy of the Mitchell Terry Mincey petition in 2012. Dan Kobil donated the clemency materials related to Gregory Lott's case in 2020. Jim Acker shared the Lisa Montgomery petition for clemency in 2021.
The collection has no series, and is ordered alphabetically by the petitioner's last name.
- Processing information:
Originally processed in 2006 by JoAnn Hale with arrangement and description updated in 2012 by Angela Perez. In early 2021, Jasmine Ambrose, researched and updated the petition status of each of the individuals listed on the finding aid, noting if the petitioner had been granted clemency, had their sentence commuted, were executed, pardoned, paroled, or exonerated.