The Governor of Illinois has denied clemency for a man who was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the attempted murder of a 72-year-old Mount Vernon woman. The crime happened in 1981, and the man died in prison in 1996. A family member of the man had petitioned the Illinois Prisoner Review Board four years ago based on the 2007 confession to the crime by another man – a convicted serial killer who has confessed to killing at least nine women.
Despite the testimony of two police officers who say the real killer confessed the crime to them, the Governor denied the pardon, without giving a reason.
Although there are many criminal offenses which qualify for expungement – or sealing or a person’s criminal record – felony convictions are not. The only way to remove a felony conviction from your record is to receive an official act of clemency, also referred to as a pardon.
The first step to this process is filing a written clemency petition with the review board. The petition is five pages long, and ask details regarding the criminal offenses the person has been convicted of, including their own versions of events.
The petitioner must also include detailed information about their personal life, including their school, military, and work history, children, marital status, and if there are any mental health or substance abuse issues.
The board also wants to know why the person is seeking clemency, specifically how has the conviction blocked opportunities for the petitioner.
The board holds hearing four times a year. Once the board makes their decision – which is confidential – it is then sent to the governor, who is not required to take the board’s advice in granting or not granting the pardon. There is also no deadline for the governor to make that decision. In the above case, it had been four years since the Illinois Prisoner Review Board had held the hearing on whether or not the deceased man should be granted a pardon for the attempted murder charge.
If you have been convicted of a felony and are wondering whether or not you should seek clemency, contact an experienced Wheaton criminal defense attorney for advice. Call the Law Offices of Salvatore C. Miglore & Associates at 630-933-8400 today for a free consultation.