The president is given the power under the Constitution to "grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment." The president may grant a full pardon to a person accused or convicted of a federal crime, releasing the person from any punishment and restoring her or his CIVIL RIGHTS. The president may also issue conditional pardons that forgive the convicted person in part, reduce a penalty a specified number of years, or alter a penalty with conditions.
A pardon is generally a private transaction between the president and an individual. However, in 1977, President JIMMY CARTER granted an AMNESTY that was, in effect, a blanket pardon to those who were either deserters or draft evaders during the VIETNAM WAR.
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