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PARDON Definition & Legal Meaning

Definition & Citations:

An act of grace, proceeding from tlie power intrusted with the execution of the laws, which exempts the individual on whom it is bestowed from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has committed. U. S. v. Wilson, 7 Pet. ICO, 8 L. Ed. 040; Ex parte Garland, 4 Wall. 3S0, 18 L. Ed. 300; Moore v. State, 43 N. J. Law, 241, 39 Am. Rep. 558; Rich v. Chamberlain, 10-1 Mich. 430, G2 N. W. 584, 27 L. R. A. 573; Edwards v. Com., 78 Va. 39, 49 Am. Rep. 377. “Pardon” is to be distinguished from “amnesty.” The former applies only to the individual, releases him from the punishment fixed by law for his specific offense, but does not affect the criminality of the same or similar acts when performed by other persons or repeated by the same person. The latter term denotes an act of grace, extended by the government to all persons who may come within its terms, and which obliterates the criminality of past acts done, and declares that they shall not be treated as punishable.


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