Akron Law to collaborate with Ohio Governor and Ohio State University Moritz School of Law to expedite pardon application process


Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Akron Law Dean C.J. Peters speak at the introduction of the Ohio Governor's Expedited Pardon Project in Columbus

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (at podium, left) and Akron Law Dean C.J. Peters (right) speak at the introduction of the Ohio Governor's Expedited Pardon Project in Columbus on Dec. 3.

A new project announced today by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine to expedite the process for select former criminal offenders to receive a pardon in Ohio will operate in partnership with The University of Akron School of Law, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

The Governor’s Expedited Pardon Project will simplify Ohio’s lengthy clemency process for certain rehabilitated citizens who have consistently demonstrated that they’ve become contributing members of society. It is estimated that 1 in 6 Ohioans, over 1.9 million, has a criminal conviction.

Under the Expedited Pardon Project, trained and supervised students at The University of Akron School of Law’s Reentry Clinic and The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law’s Drug Enforcement and Policy Center will screen potential pardon candidates to ensure that they meet the Expedited Pardon Project’s requirements. Law students will then provide free assistance to those identified as ideal candidates for a pardon.

Forgiveness under the law

“Right now, there are good people all over the state who made poor choices when they were young and have never stopped paying for them. Their criminal records limit their opportunities, and despite becoming responsible, law-abiding citizens, these individuals can’t get ahead. I believe that it’s time that we stop holding these Ohioans back and give them a better opportunity to live up to their full potential,” said Governor DeWine.

“If you have served your sentence and demonstrated that you have been rehabilitated, you deserve the benefit of forgiveness under the law. Offering a pardon to certain rehabilitated citizens will allow them to have better career and educational opportunities, and an overall improved quality of life,” said the Governor.

UA's Reentry Clinic

“For nearly a decade, University of Akron law students in our Reentry Clinic have been helping deserving Ohioans become productive citizens after serving their debt to society,” said Christopher J. (C.J.) Peters, Dean of The University of Akron School of Law. “I am excited that this new statewide program will expand these opportunities, and I am grateful to Governor DeWine for his leadership and to our friends at Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law for their invaluable partnership.”

Since its creation in 2013, the Reentry Clinic at Akron Law has assisted thousands of low-income citizens with remedies to lessen the impact of their convictions, including pardons, court sealings, human trafficking expungement, and a Certificate of Qualification for Employment.

“We train approximately 100 law students each year to provide service through the Reentry Clinic, including some trained specifically to handle pardon applications,” said Joann Sahl, clinical professor law and assistant director of the Reentry Clinic.

“Because the Governor’s Expedited Pardon Project is almost certain to increase the number of qualified applicants, it will also significantly expand the opportunities for our law students to assist in preparing a full pardon application,” Sahl said. “This is an extremely valuable hands-on experience, advocating for a client on an important, real-world issue.”


  • The Ohio Governor’s Expedited Pardon Project.
  • Individuals interested in submitting an application for an expedited pardon should first check the Can I apply? page to see whether they fulfill the basic criteria to be considered for the Ohio Governor’s Expedited Pardon Project. If you feel that you meet these criteria, follow the instructions on the site to download, print and complete the required forms to be submitted by mail. Initial applicants who do not meet the expedited pardon criteria will be promptly notified about how to apply through the traditional pardon process.
  • For individuals interested in the services provided at the monthly Akron Law outreach clinic, see the next clinic date.

Media contact: Lisa Craig, 330-972-7429 or lmc91@uakron.edu.