An extra-special Thanksgiving for some: Illinois Governor Quinn grants pardons
Yesterday, the AP reported:
CHICAGO (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn has prepared for the Thanksgiving weekend by acting on a number of clemency petitions — part of a backlog of nearly 2,500 cases that built up under the administration of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Quinn’s office says the governor approved 20 clemency petitions Wednesday and denied another 48.
The 68 petitions acted on by Quinn in the latest batch were from dockets in four months of 2003 and 2004.
A few months ago, my source assured me that the Governor would grant pardons “before Christmas” so it’s really nice to see that Governor Quinn granted pardons before the holiday, just as he did last year.
The problem is that there are still thousands sitting on his desk. Governor Blagojevich left about 2500 on his desk when he was impeached. Since then, an additional 900 or so have arrived on Governor Quinn’s desk.
The pardon power is an enumerated power given solely to the Governor. It’s is a duty that must be performed, that shall be performed. In Illinois, the Governor has no time period that he is required to act on a pardon. Regardless, in my opinion, a decision should be made within a reasonable amount of time.
Many pardon petitions are surely an easy decision for the Governor — the person in prison for a violent offense or the person who is no longer in prison who has no proof of rehabilitation. On the other hand, there are many people (like my clients) who are great candidates: the person who has a minor drug conviction from 20-years ago or the person who has many years of strong work ethic, a family, involvement in the community, etc.
I hope Governor Quinn continues to move on the stack of petitions that continue to collect dust on his desk. Thousands of people are awaiting an answer.
Thank you, Governor Quinn, for doing your job: granting 20 pardons and denying some as well.
Since taking office, Quinn has acted on 810 clemency petitions — granting 317 pardons, authorizing expungement for eight people who were already pardoned, and granting one commutation. He has also denied 425 petitions.