What authority does the Board of Pardons have?
The Nebraska Board of Pardons was created through Article IV, Section 13 of the Nebraska Constitution and is comprised of the Governor, the Secretary of State and the Attorney General. The Board’s constitutional powers cannot be limited or modified by any act of the legislature or the Nebraska Courts.
The Board has the power to:
- Remit fines and forfeitures
- Grant respites
- Grant reprieves
- Grant pardons
- Grant commutations
- Grant Warrants of Discharge
This applies to all cases of conviction for offenses against the laws of the State of Nebraska except treason and cases of impeachment.
Any decision by the Board will be by majority vote. The Board may, after a pardon has been granted for a felony offense, empower the Governor to expressly authorize the applicant to receive, possess or transport in commerce, a firearm.
What does a pardon do?
A pardon restores civil rights lost due to a felony conviction. These rights include, but are not limited to:
- The right to vote
- The right to be a juror
- The right to hold public office
- The right to bear arms
- The right of admission to professional schools
- The right to take Civil Service Examination
- The right to serve in the military
- The right to be issued a passport
- The right to hold certain licenses (Liquor and Public Health and Welfare Licenses)
When does the Board meet?
The Nebraska Board of Pardons schedules meetings / hearings upon their discretion.
If an individual has had a conviction “set-aside” by a judge or court of law, is that equivalent to the receipt of a pardon?
The answer from the Nebraska Supreme Court is “no”. The court issued an opinion in State v. Spady (264 Neb. 99) on June 14, 2002 that states that a set-aside “…does not result in the granting of a pardon. Nor does it allow a court to grant a “partial pardon.” The court is permitted to set aside convictions, but certain civil disabilities are exempted from restoration”.
Does the Certificate of Discharge from a Nebraska correctional facility or a judicial discharge from a sentence of probation restore civil rights?
No, only a pardon can restore civil rights.
Does any authority within the State of Nebraska have the ability to expunge records?
No, the State of Nebraska does not expunge records. Once a conviction has occurred, the only redress that is available to restore civil rights (other than the Court of Appeals) is that of the Pardons Board.
Does a Warrant of Discharge restore civil rights?
A Warrant of Discharge issued by the Board of Pardons will only restore those civil rights enumerated specifically in the certificate.