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Minnesota Agencies

Information on Minnesota State Agencies, Boards, Task Forces, and Commissions

Compiled by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library

Board of Pardons

Also known as:
Minnesota Board of Pardons
Pardons Board
Active dates:1897-
Constitution Art. V. Sec. 7

The Board may grant pardons, commutations, and pardons extraordinary to applicants. The board must meet at least two times each year to consider and vote on clemency applications. At each meeting, the board must render a decision on each clemency application considered at the meeting or continue the matter to a future board meeting. If the board continues consideration of an application, the commission must notify the applicant in writing and explain why the matter was continued.

The Board is required to file a written report with the Minnesota Legislature by February 15 of each year containing the following information: the number of applications received by the board during the preceding calendar year for pardons, pardons extraordinary, and commutations of sentence, the number of applications granted by the board for each category, and the crimes for which the applications were granted by the board, the year of each conviction, and the age of the offender at the time of the offense.


In 1895, the legislature proposed a constitutional amendment to take pardoning power from the governor and to confer it on a pardon board (Laws of Minnesota 1895, chapter 2). The constitutional amendment passed with strong support in the 1896 general election and was codified in Laws of Minnesota 1897, chapter 23

Laws of Minnesota 2023, chapter 52, article 8, section 3 made changes to the Board of Pardons and established a Clemency Review Commission. Beginning July 1, 2024, the Clemency Review Commission must begin reviewing applications for pardons, commutations, and reprieves in accordance with Minnesota Statuteschapter 638. By July 1, 2024, the commission must develop application forms in consultation with the board.

Prior to May 19, 2023, pardons could be granted only by a unanimous vote of the three members of the board. Now a petitioner needs to receive only two of the three votes, provided one is the governor.


3 members: The board consists of the governor, the chief justice of the supreme court, and the attorney general. It meets twice yearly, and the meetings are open to the public.

Internet resource:
Note: The Legislative Reference Library may have additional reports on or by this group available through our catalog.
'I Want to Be Forgiven. I Just Want to Be Forgiven.' When the Minnesota Board of Pardons meets, supplicants have 10 minutes to make the case for mercy.. New York Times, 10/15/2023.
Minnesota Pardons Board grants first non-unanimous pardons in state history. Star Tribune, 6/29/2023.
Felony pardon process up for consideration in state Legislature. Star Tribune, 3/28/2023.
News clippings and documents. Agencies Notebook Collection, 2001-2019.
Record last updated: 10/16/2023

All information on this group from the Library’s collection of agency notebooks has been digitized. These materials are incorporated into the “documents/articles” section of the record. Please contact a librarian with any questions. The Minnesota Agencies database is a work in progress.

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