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April 6, 2010

Illinois Governor acts on backlogged clemency petitions and grants multiple pardons

Critics of President Obama often assail him for being just another Chicago politician, but this recent press report on actions by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn leave me wishing President Obama would acted more like his hometown politicians when it comes to the exercise of clemency power.  Here are the details:

Gov. Pat Quinn is granting pardons to dozens of people convicted of crimes. Quinn acted on 407 petitions Friday. He pardoned 147 of their crimes and authorized two others who had previously been pardoned to seek expungement of their records. Quinn also denied 258 petitions.

Since Quinn took office he has acted on 769 petitions, but the backlog built up by his predecessor remains large. Quinn spokeswoman Marlena Jentz says there are still about 2,450 petitions awaiting action. She says 1,800 of those are left over from the administration of Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

As this official webpage reveals, President Obama has yet to act on a single one of the many thousands of requests for pardons and commutations sitting unresolved on his Oval Office desk.  Though I have urged President Obama to consider granting some clemencies since the day he took office nearly 15 months ago, at the very least he should find the time to resolve at least some of the petitions one way or another.  Even a denial seems more humane and responsible that leaving thousands of clemency petitioners (and the many thousands more who care about these persons' fate) in the dark about their status for months and months.

Some related recent posts on federal clemency realities:

April 6, 2010 at 08:41 AM | Permalink


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It is fantastic that he is doing these pardons, but what about the ones that are still serving time? No one has said anything else about them since the "mistake" of last year. This makes no sense. What about sentence computation for the ones that have not done anything or the ones that are there for little or nothing. Come on now, what's really going on. I guess all the clemency petitions that were granted for the people that are not even in there means more votes, since the persons in jail cannot vote.

Posted by: S. McGuire | Apr 6, 2010 3:34:34 PM

i am still serving time on a drug charge, and awaiting an answer on my own request for commutation of sentence and permission to expunge. my petition was filed a year ago, and was heard by the prison review board last april. ten years.....man, and the child molester sentenced after me is out on the street already..... I hope and pray for the gov's signature, but no matter what, i will never travel this road again.

Posted by: laura m swenson | Dec 25, 2010 7:14:59 PM

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