Vanderbilt Law Review


Louis Lusky

First Page



The protean term "amnesty" is not mentioned in the Constitution,but it has been used elsewhere in many different senses: clemency for convicted criminals, clemency for offenders not yet apprehended or prosecuted, and immunity from punishment for acts not yet committed that ordinarily would be criminal. The term has been employed whether the offenders were listed by name or specified by general classification,and it has sometimes been used as a synonym for the constitutional term"pardon." On occasion the substance of amnesty has been granted without use of the term at all. In this article, the term "amnesty" is used in its broadest sense: the softening of punishment for a large number of offenders, for reasons of public policy.

Included in

Law Commons