Secretary of State Pardons granted record books
Dates: i 1880-1921.
These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.
Scope and Content
From the beginning of the territorial government in 1850, the Governor exercised the power to grant pardons to individuals convicted of crimes. As with other "official acts" of the Governor, pardons were recorded by the Secretary of the Territory; and beginning in 1880, a separate register containing printed pardon forms was used for this purpose. The use of these registers was continued by the Secretary, even after the Board of Pardons assumed responsibility for granting pardons in 1896.
Two registers were used initially. From 1880-1885, pardons that were granted for good behavior and compliance with the rules of prison discipline were apparently recorded in a separate volume. The third register, begun in 1896, is identified as a Board of Pardons record book.
A pardon was normally granted by the Governor in response to petitions for clemency received from local citizen groups, or upon the recommendation of state and local officials acquainted with the individual case. Reasons for granting a pardon usually involved the health and condition of the prisoner or his family, or the general belief that the prisoner had been sufficiently rehabilitated or punished. Exemplary behavior while in prison was often sited as evidence of rehabilitation. Only a few pardons were granted because the Governor felt that an individual prisoner had been wrongly convicted.
Each entry includes the name of the person pardoned, the court in which the case was originally tried, the type of crime committed, the term of sentence, and usually a short explanation of the reasons for granting the pardon.
Chronological by the date granted
Territorial executive papers from the Territorial Secretary, Series 241, contain supporting documentation for this series.
Executive record books from the Secretary of State, Series 242, contain all pardons granted until 1880 when they were recorded in this series.
Prisoners' pardon application case files from the Board of Pardons, Series 328, contain pardons that were actually granted between 1892 and 1915.
Schedule of proceedings from the Board of Pardons, Series 330, show the proceedings followed for each case recorded in this series.
Pardons from the Secretary of State, Series 397, contains information supporting documentation for pardons granted (and information on those refused pardons).
In 1969, the PARDONS GRANTED RECORD BOOKS were transferred from the Secretary of State's office to the State Archives for permanent storage.
Cite the Utah State Archives and Records Service, the creating agency name, the series title, and the series number.
Archival processing was completed in 1987 by Val Wilson. The first two registers were microfilmed together on the same reel, (35mm), shortly after their transfer to the archives.
Indexes: An electronic index is available. View index.
- Executive power--Utah.
- Remission (Civil law)--Utah.
Page Last Updated October 18, 2012.