Military clemency and parole boards may be the final hope for service members convicted at a courts-martial. Speaking with an experienced military attorney gives you or a loved one the best chance at getting relief, such as a shorter or reduced sentence.
Mr. Courtney: I wanted to reach out to you, to let you know how thankful I am for you looking out for my son PFC J. I wanted you to know that he doing great and in a great place in all aspects of his life. I truly believe that you are one of those reasons why he is where he is today. Thank you for believing in him and advocating for not only him, but for Marines that would otherwise not have a chance at getting fair treatment. Thank you. Semper Fidelis.Mr. J. Father of PFC J., US Marine Corps, Camp Pendleton
After a court-martial convicts a service member, the member may request clemency. Clemency means lenience or mercy. A service member is allowed to ask for the punishment to be reduced.
Clemency Immediately After Conviction
Requesting clemency can occur immediately after the conviction by the trial defense counsel, per Rule for Courts-Martial (RCM) 1106. RCM 1106 allows the accused to submit written matters which may reasonably tend to inform the convening authority’s exercise of discretion under RCM 1109 or 1110. The submissions are not subject to the Military Rules of Evidence.
Clemency Through Clemency and Parole Boards
If a convening authority declines to grant the requested relief, service members convicted under the UCMJ may request clemency through their service’s clemency and parole board.
For instance, the Clemency and Parole Board of the Navy, acting as the executive agent for the Secretary of the Navy, decides clemency and parole matters for Navy and Marine Corps members convicted by court-martial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Each service published regulations guiding the procedural requirements for service members to request clemency. In the case of Marines and Sailors, the Department of the Navy uses SECNAVINST 5815.3K.
Only selected offenders convicted by special or general courts-martial are eligible for initial and subsequent clemency review.
How to Request Clemency in the Military?
The procedures for requesting relief change depending on whether the service member’s confinement status and which branch of service they served in.
Offenders in Confinement
For offenders who will be in confinement at the time of their clemency review eligibility date, the respective MCF commanding officer will determine the offender’s clemency review status. If a prisoner receives a sentence of 12 months or more but has a pretrial agreement for less than 12 months confinement, the NC&PB must still conduct a mandatory clemency review.
Offenders Not Confined
For offenders who will not be in confinement at the time of their clemency review eligibility date, the Convening Authority (CA)will determine whether the offender has waived clemency or requested clemency. If the CA determines that the offender subject to mandatory clemency review has not waived clemency, or an offender has requested clemency review, the CA will initiate the clemency review process. The CA’s receipt or non-receipt of a waiver of mandatory clemency review or a clemency review request may determine whether to initiate the clemency review process.
Military Parole Boards
According to the Navy Clemency and Parole Board, parole is the principal means of conditional release from confinement to ensure the smooth, structured release of the offender into the community as a law- abiding citizen. It provides incentives for the offender to reform and ensures continued access to treatment and rehabilitation services, while enabling the naval service to retain custody through supervision to ensure public safety. Every parole determination will be based on an assessment that the offender has the potential to successfully return to society and function as a responsible, self-reliant, and law-abiding citizen.
How to Request Military Parole?
To request parole from clemency and parole boards, convicted service members in the Navy and Marine Corps should submit their request to: President, Naval Clemency and Parole Board, 720 Kennon Street, SE, Room 322, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC 20374-5023.
For a parole request, the offender must provide a statement seeking release under supervision, articulate reasons for approval, and present a proposed plan for successful reintegration into society if granted parole. An adequate parole plan should also include a valid tender of residence, an employment plan, and any individual and group therapy/counseling programs specific to the offenses. While on parole, the offender must bear all costs for therapy or counseling. If confined in a military facility, the commanding officer will verify the parole plan, including professionals’ credentials in outpatient/inpatient programs.
For service members in the Army, Air Force, Space Force, and Coast Guard, schedule a call to discuss your options today.
Speak with an Attorney
If you or a loved one need assistance applying for clemency or military parole, consider hiring a military defense attorney today.