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Questions & Answers


[ September 25th, 2013 ] Many seeking clemency, pardon or commutation continue to wait for answer from Illinois Governor Quinn

Follow Illinois Attorney Tamara Holder on twitter: @tamaraholder Illinois Governor Pat Quinn granted and denied a considerable amount of clemency and pardon petitions (where he authorized expungement – destruction of the record – in many cases) was around the 2013 Easter holiday. He traditionally grants pardons during the holidays. I have dozens upon dozens of petitions pending, dating back to 2007. *****   Today I [...]


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[ December 27th, 2010 ] Q: I petitioned the Governor for a pardon but I haven’t heard anything. What do I do?

A: Wait. The only thing you can do is patiently wait for the Governor to make a decision. The law states that a petitioner cannot re-petition the Governor for a pardon until he has been denied and waits for a period of one year before resubmission. So, if the Governor does not make a decision for years, the petitioner cannot make amend his/her petition for [...]

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[ December 27th, 2010 ] Q: What is the difference between a pardon and clemency?

A: There is no difference. Technically, clemency is the general term for commutation, pardon and reprieve. Commutation is for the person in prison, who is seeking to be released early but isn’t necessarily looking to have the conviction pardoned. A pardon is for the person who is not in custody or on probation and wants to be “forgiven” for their offense. A pardon can also [...]

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[ December 26th, 2010 ] Q: Since I cannot expunge or seal my record, is there any way I can remove a conviction from my record?

A: If you do not qualify for expungement or sealing, you must seek a pardon from the governor. Pardons are not just for people who have done time in prison! Anyone who has a conviction needs a pardon! (Unless it’s a sealable conviction or a Class 4 exception.) However, the governor has the power to both pardon an offender and issue an executive order to [...]

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[ December 26th, 2010 ] Q: I didn’t go to prison but instead the judge gave me probation on my felony case. Since I didn’t go to prison, is it still a conviction?

A: Yes, probation is a conviction. The judge could have sent you to prison but instead chose the punishment of probation. The person who went to prison is in the same boat as the person who was given probation: both have felony convictions on their record and both will need a governor’s pardon. You cannot seal or expunge your felony conviction. See above exception.

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