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Justice Matters is WKSU’s reporting initiative examining Ohio's criminal enforcement system, its challenges and opportunities for reform

Ohio’s Expedited Pardon Project by the numbers

Expedited Pardon Project logo

Ohio Expedited Pardon Project

• Total applications: 426

• Applicants pardoned: 37

• Active clients* : 125

• Pending applications (received and under review but not accepted clients yet): 66

• Applicants not accepted to program: 198

*Clients whose cases have had a hearing, are scheduled for a hearing, are awaiting a decision from the governor, or whose full pardon application is still in progress.

Source: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s office


Expedited pardons are limited to ex-offenders for whom at least 10 years have passed since they served their sentences and who meet other criteria. Unlike the traditional pardon process, people who qualify get free, one-on-one assistance from one of five law schools and bypass the waitlist for pardons.

Criteria to apply

• Must have completed their sentence at least 10 years ago for the Ohio convictions for which they are seeking a pardon.

• Must not have committed any additional crimes during that minimum of 10 years, including DUI and OVI.

• Convictions must not include any disqualifying offenses (see below).

• The person must have made good faith efforts to meet all requirements of sentencing, including paying fines or restitution.

• Must have a post-offense employment history or a compelling reason why he or she has not been employed.

• Must have some history of performing volunteer work or community service.

Disqualifying Offenses

• Aggravated Murder, Murder, Attempted Murder, Voluntary Manslaughter, Involuntary Manslaughter, Reckless Homicide, Negligent Homicide, Aggravated Vehicular Homicide, Vehicular Homicide.

• Rape, Sexual Battery, Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor, Gross Sexual Imposition, Sexual Imposition, Pandering Obscenity Involving a Minor, Pandering Sexually Oriented Matter Involving a Minor, Illegal Use of a Minor in Nudity Oriented Material or Performance, Felonious Sexual Penetration, Importuning, Compelling Prostitution, Promoting Prostitution, Disseminating Matter Harmful to Juveniles, Displaying Matter Harmful to Juveniles, Pandering Obscenity, Deception to Obtain Matter Harmful to Juveniles, Human Trafficking.

• Kidnapping, Abduction, Felony Child Endangering, Terrorism.

• Domestic Violence.

Law schools partnering with the governor’s office and Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

  • The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
  • The University of Akron School of Law
  • Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
  • University of Dayton School of Law
  • Ohio Justice & Policy Center in partnership with University of Cincinnati College of Law
M.L. Schultze is a freelance journalist. She spent 25 years at The Repository in Canton where she was managing editor for nearly a decade, then served as WKSU's news director and digital editor until her retirement.