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a prerogative power exercised by the Home Secretary to allow a sentence to be commuted, remitted or suspended.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

MERCY, Practice. To be in mercy, signifies to be liable to punishment at the discretion of the judge.

MERCY, crim. law. The total or partial remission of a punishment to which a convict is subject. When the whole punishment is remitted, it is called a pardon; (q.v.) when only a part of the punishment is remitted, it is frequently a conditional pardon; or before sentence, it is called clemency or mercy. Vide Rutherf. Inst. 224; 1 Kent, Com. 265; 3 Story, Const. Sec. 1488.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
It seems the nation's health is left to the mercy of the Chief Justice of Pakistan.
He rang the AA but a patrol was unable to rescue the stranded vehicle and it was left to the mercy of floods on the outskirts of Tewkesbury, Glos.
When everybody bears the brunt of high inflation and increasing costs of living, it is unethical for the vast majority of expat workers to be left to the mercy of unscrupulous employers with no regulation whatsoever stating a minimum wage for them.
Meanwhile, ordinary passengers, including women and children were left to the mercy of suffocating, heated planes, and all efforts of these hapless suffering citizens to contact airport manager and other high officials went in vain.
The ore carrier Kowloon Bridge had to be left to the mercy of storms off Ireland after her crew were airlifted to safety.
The students are reported to have been left to the mercy of the Nigerian Embassy in Bulgaria and some "good Nigerians in that country", while they wait to receive their flight tickets back home.
Those who fail or refuse a task will be left to the mercy of the public who will decide if they should be granted housemate status..
I would like to see the couple sterilised without anaesthetic, then left to the mercy of angry people who would let them feel the pain that the wee girl suffered.