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Expedited Pardon Project

Providing information and resources for the Ohio Governor’s Expedited Pardon Project, a collaboration between Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, the Reentry Clinic at the UA School of Law and the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center at the OSU Moritz College of Law

Relevant Ohio Laws

The following hyperlink will send you to the free version of the Ohio Revised Code: O.R.C. Chapter 2967: PARDON; PAROLE; PROBATION 

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction website has additional information about clemency and the application process. 


Certificate of Qualification for Employment (CQE)

Ohio law creates a mechanism by which an individual who is subject to a "collateral sanction" may obtain a CQE that will provide relief from certain bars on employment or occupational licensing. A collateral sanction is a penalty, disability, or disadvantage that is related to employment or occupational licensing as a result of the individual's conviction of or plea of guilty to an offense and that applies by operation of law in this state whether or not the penalty, disability, or disadvantage is included in the sentence or judgment.

CQEs provide an opportunity for applicants who seek employment, but do not qualify to seal their record.CQEs alleviate the mandatory restriction imposed by law for employment or licensing. Thus, each applicant can be considered on an individual basis by the licensing board. Further, the CQE protects employers from negligent- hiring lawsuits. A CQE will not guarantee a job but can provide greater opportunity for the applicant. 

The following hyperlink will send you to the free version of the Ohio Revised Code: O.R.C. Sec. 2953.25: Certificate of qualification for employment for persons subject to collateral sanctions.

Here is where you go to apply for your Certificate of Qualification for Employment. 

For more information about CQE, expungement, and sealing of records, check out the University of Akron's library guide and Reentry Clinic!


Executive Clemency is an act of mercy or leniency from certain consequences of a criminal conviction, and is exercised by the Governor after receipt of a recommendation from the Parole Board. Clemency can be in the form of a pardon, commutation, or reprieve.

  • Pardon: A pardon is the remission of a penalty. It is an act of grace or forgiveness that relieves the person pardoned from some or all of the ramifications of lawful punishment. A pardon may be conditional or unconditional.  Pardons do not erase or seal a conviction; a pardon forgives guilt.
  • Commutation: Commutation is the reduction of a penalty to one less severe.  A commutation may be conditional or unconditional.
  • Reprieve: A reprieve is the temporary postponement of the execution of a sentence.

Traditional Pardons: Serves to release a person from the entire punishment prescribed for an offense and from any and all continued consequences resulting from a conviction. Ohio law expressly states that a pardon “relieves the person to whom it is granted of all disabilities arising out of the conviction or convictions from which it is granted.” Pardons are granted by the Governor after a person submits an “application for clemency.” Only Ohio convictions are eligible for a pardon in Ohio.

Anyone who has been convicted of a crime in Ohio can submit an application for clemency through the traditional process. To learn more, please visit

Expedited Pardons: Not all Ohio convictions are eligible to be considered for a pardon through the Ohio Governor’s Expedited Pardon Project. The Ohio Governor’s Expedited Project has been developed to assist with pardon applications for certain persons with only certain convictions who have been without a criminal conviction for a decade or longer. If approved for this process, you will receive assistance from this project with filling out and filing all of the traditional pardon paperwork. 

Pardon Benefits:

  • it may help you get a job,
  • it may restore your ability to serve as a juror,
  • it restores your ability to hold public office,
  • it restores your ability to legally possess a firearm,
  • it restores your ability to volunteer in certain settings, and
  • it affirms the positive changes you have made in your life.


Please Note: There are other remedies under Ohio Law to limit the consequences created by a past criminal conviction. Specifically, Ohio statutes provide for some criminal records to be sealed and also for grants of a Certificate of Qualification for Employment (CQE). The eligibility provisions and legal process for these remedies is entirely distinct from the pardon process (and securing a pardon does not automatically seal your criminal record pertaining to the offense). Whether or not you choose to seek a pardon, you should explore whether you are eligible to have your record sealed or if you are eligible to receive a CQE. If you receive a full, unconditional pardon in Ohio, you must still apply to a court to have your court records sealed pertaining to that conviction.

For More Information ...

Thanks to the Franklin County Law Library for this information! For more information about expungement, CQE, and CAE, please check out their library guide!