A pardon is an action by an executive official whereby the government mitigates or sets aside a punishment for a crime. The granting of a pardon to someone who has committed a crime or who has been convicted of a crime is called an act of clemency, or otherwise an act of forgiveness. Many pardons are granted to those who are considered deserving, or who have been wrongfully convicted and seek the aid of an appeals attorney.
On the state level, either a governor or a pardon board composed of high-ranking officials grants a pardon. On the federal level, the president has the power to grant a pardon. Only the president can pardon for violations of federal law and governors are only allowed to pardon violations against the laws of their states.