Executive clemency is a power of the executive at the federal and state level to issue pardons and commute sentences. The seminar will study the operation of this power, with emphasis on the federal level and New Mexico. In addition to classroom study, seminar members will undertake to assist clients in seeking New Mexico pardons, possibly some federal pardons, and may also undertake some commutation cases. Professor Rapaport is currently enrolling New Mexico pardon clients for this project and exploring possible commutation cases. The number and type of clients assisted will depend in part on student enrollment and the appetite of the students.
The seminar will be a hybrid classroom and practical class. The seminar will study the law expounding the nature and limits of executive clemency power; the history of executive clemency in the United States; clemency regulations and practice at the federal level and in New Mexico; the components of clemency cases; the incarceration crisis in the United States; the collateral (post release) consequences of conviction, including those for immigrants; the jurisprudence of forgiveness, Topics include capital clemency; clemency for battered women; the war on drugs; clemency for immigrants. Students will represent clients seeking clemency.
The seminar will include guest presentations by experts and practitioners.