You are currently viewing The keys to the Supreme Court’s order: what does his negative opinion mean to the pardon?

The Supreme Court has issued an unfavorable report on Wednesday on the pardon of the ‘procés’ prisoners. The Minister of Justice, Juan Carlos Campo, asked this Monday to see the concession of the pardon of grace with “naturalness”, whether they are favorable or not. These are the keys to the measure of grace, governed by a law of 1870.

What is pardon?

Pardon is a measure by which the State pardons a prisoner from serving a sentence. It can be total or partial and is governed by a law dating from 1870. According to the Article 62 of the Spanish Constitution, which includes the powers of the king, it is the monarch who grants this measure of grace, although the decision is made by the Council of Ministers after deliberating on the proposal, which is made by the Ministry of Justice.

Is any other party involved? Are its pronouncements binding?

The sentencing court and the Prosecutor’s Office issue reports. So does the General State Attorney, if it has intervened; Penitentiary Institutions, if the convicted person is in prison, and the party offended by the crime, if any. All these reports are mandatory, but not binding.

There is a nuance in the case of sentencing court reportIf it is negative, as has been the case, only a partial pardon can be granted, but not a total one.

Should the affected person request it?

The request does not have to be made by the convicted person, but it is enough for someone else to make it on their behalf. It can also be requested by the sentencing court itself, the Supreme Court, the prosecutor, the prison surveillance judge and the Government itself.

What requirements must be met to be pardoned?

The beneficiaries of the pardon can be convicted of all kinds of crimes. However, the sentence must be final and the prisoners must be “at the disposal” of the sentencing court for the execution of the sentence. On the other hand, those who are repeat offenders in a crime for which they have been convicted cannot receive this measure, although in the latter case exceptions can also be made.

Is repentance necessary to be pardoned?

The law does not require that the convicted person must show repentance to be pardoned. Of course, it is one of the aspects that the sentencing court values ​​to issue its report and that can be assessed throughout the process. And the court this Wednesday has stressed that there are “no signs of repentance.”

How long does it take to process the pardon?

There is currently no term set by law for the Executive on duty to deliberate and decide on the grace measure. Of course, the Ministry of Justice has assured on several occasions that it usually takes approximately six months, although it depends.

In the case of the partial pardon received by the former Minister of the Interior Jose Barrionuevo and the former secretary of state Rafael Vera, sentenced to ten years in prison for the kidnapping of the GAL to According to Marey, Justice solved it in just a month.

Regarding the one requested for the nine convicted by the ‘procés’, more than eight months have already passed. It was on September 23, 2020 when the current Minister of Justice, Juan Carlos Campo, announced that they were beginning to be processed in response to a parliamentary question made by Laura Borràs, former JxCAT deputy and current president of the Parliament.

Partial, total … what types of pardons are there and what requirements?

The granting of the pardon can be total or partial. According to the regulatory law, it will be complete when all the penalties to which said prisoner had been convicted are remitted and that I still had not fulfilled. The partial pardon is applied to some “or some” of the penalties imposed that the defendant has not yet completed.

What is the difference between amnesty and pardon?

When a prisoner is granted the measure of grace, the penalty of the crime is forgiven. However, the pardon does not imply the cancellation of the criminal record, as the amnesty does.

At what point is the petition for clemency for the ‘procés’ prisoners?

The Supreme Court’s condemnation of the ‘procés’ prisoners came in October 2019, with sentences of between 9 and 13 years for sedition and embezzlement. In January 2020, the Executive already had several requests made by individuals to be pardoned. However, it was not until September when the processing of the grace measure began, an announcement made in the Congress of Deputies by the Minister of Justice, Juan Carlos Campo.

Since then, the Government has been compiling a “package of reports”: that of the Prosecutor’s Office –against-, that of Penitentiary Institutions, that of the State Bar –did not pronounce– and that of the possible harmed, who chose not to respond. This last procedure was offered although it is not contemplated in the law. Now, the Supreme Court finalizes its report, with which the Executive will have everything to decide. Campo has already warned that the decision may not be uniform with respect to all those incarcerated.

How many pardons are there per year?

Governments have been reducing the use of pardons over the years. During the last years of the last millennium, the annual figures oscillated between half a thousand (491 pardoned in 1996 or 664 in 1995) and a thousand people (962 in 1993 and 831 in 1998). The all-time high was recorded in 2000, with 1,744 people pardoned. In the 21st century, however, the average was lowered. The barrier of 500 annual pardons was not lowered until 2006. For the next five years there were no fewer than 359 pardons per year. In 2012 there was a rebound with 534, a figure that fell to 204 in 2013, 87 in 2014 and 75 in 2015. From 2016 to 2020 pardon has not been resorted to more than 40 times a year.

What are the most popular pardons?

Among all the pardons agreed, there are some that stand out for their relevance. This is the case of the one granted to Alfonso Armada, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the coup d’état of February 23, 1981. He was pardoned seven years later, on December 23, 1988. Six years later, the Executive of Felipe González also pardoned Jesus Gil, former mayor of Marbella. Gil, who already received the measure of grace when Francisco Franco was alive, was pardoned in 1994 of the penalty imposed in 1992 for fraud. Another of the most famous pardons was the one granted to Carlos Navarro, Luis Olivero and Alberto Flores, sentenced to between 10 and 11 years in 1997 for continued falsification of a commercial document, a tax offense and a crime against the Public Treasury within the framework of the Filesa case.


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