Commutation of Sentence a/k/a "Time Cuts"

Judges and juries are sentencing prisoners to longer and longer terms every day.  It is not unusual to see youthful and first time offenders sentenced to 25 years, 50 years or life in prison.  As a result, prisoners often inquire about obtaining a "time cut" in order to reduce their sentences.  The formal term for a "time cut" is a commutation of sentence and the procedure is set out in §143.52 of Title 37 of the Texas Administrative Code.

Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles will consider recommending to the Governor a commutation of sentence if it receives a request for a commutation and the request is accompanied by the written recommendation of at least two of the three trial officials.  (Trial officials are the sheriff and district attorney of the county of conviction and the sitting judge of the court in which the conviction occurred).  The written recommendations from the trial officials must include the following information:  (1) a statement that the penalty now appears to be excessive;  (2) a recommendation of a definite term now considered by the officials as just and proper; and (3) a statement of the reasons for the recommendation based upon facts directly related to the facts of the cases and in existence, but not available to, the court or jury at the time of the trial, or a statutory change in penalty for the crime which would appear to make the original penalty excessive.
 
After obtaining the favorable written recommendations of the trial officials, a majority of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles must vote to send the request to the Governor with a recommendation to grant the time cut.  


In 2005, the Board received 45 time cut requests.  Of those, only two were sent to the Governor's office with a favorable recommendation.
To date, the Governor has taken no action.

In 2006, the Board received 11 time cut requests.  Of those, none were sent to the Governor's office with a favorable recommendation.

In 2007, the Board received 8 time cut requests.  Of those, only one was sent to the Governor's office with a favorable recommendation. 
 
In 2008, the Board received 36 time cut requests and did not send any to the Governor's office with a favorable recommendation. 
 
In 2009, the Board received 58 time cut requests.  Of those, only one was sent to the Governor's office with a favorable recommendation. 
 
In 2010, the Board received 84 time cut requests.  Of those, three were sent to the Governor's office with a favorable recommendation.
To date, the Governor has not acted on request for time cut.  

In 2011, the Board received 76 time cut requests.  Of those, none were sent to the Governor's office with a favorable recommendation.

In 2012, the Board received 88, time cut requests.  Of those, none were sent to the Governor's office with a favorable recommendation.

In 2013, the Board received 87 time cut requests.  Of those, none were sent to the Governor's office with a favorable recommendation.

In 2014, the Board received 102 time cut requests.  Of those, only two were sent to the Governor's office with a favorable recommendation.
To date, the Governor has taken no action.

In 2015, as of December 23, 2015, the Board received 143 time cut requests.  Of those, none were sent to the Governor's office with a favorable recommendation.

In 2016, the Board received 62 time cut requests.  Of those, one was sent to the Governor's office with a favorable recommendation.
To date, the Governor has taken no action.  

The last time the Governor granted a time cut request was in 2003.  That same year he denied five other requests that had been on his desk since 2001.
 
Pursuing a time cut is a complex process that requires diplomacy and expertise.  

Unless there are extraordinary circumstances present, there is little chance of a time cut.  Age, mental health, physical health and lengthy sentences are not enough. 

If you believe your situation meets the criteria and are interested in pursuing a time cut, you can contact Yolanda at yolandamtorres@gmail.com.

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Yolanda M. Torres,
Sep 2, 2017, 1:33 PM
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