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Clemency, sometimes referred to as communtion of sentence, is an executive order reducing a defendant's sentence. For instance, a defendant may request clemency to reduce a sentence from capital punishment to life sentence. When the executive believes that the defendant is guilty, but that the punishment is unjust, he may issue an order for clemency.

In some instance clemency and other executive orders are the last chance a defendant will have after having exhausted habeas claims.

See Sentencing