According to the Chicago Tribune, on Friday Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn granted clemency for 52 people who were originally sentenced for numerous crimes, including drug offenses, domestic battery, underage drinking and forgery. Similarly, the occurrence of the crimes ranged from 1958 to 2003 and several individuals were granted clemency due to medical reasons. The same day, Gov. Quinn denied 136 additional clemency requests. Many of the potential pardons had piled up under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Gov. Quinn has continued to respond to this backlog.
Here are some facts about past clemency grants in Illinois:
* Last April, the governor granted 85 and denied 189 clemency requests, dating from 2003 to 2009, for convicted crimes such as possession of a controlled substance and burglary, according to WLS.
* Prior to deciding on granting clemency, all petitioned individuals go under a recent criminal background check by the Illinois State Police, which in many cases can determine the outcome of the request.
* Between taking over after ex-Gov. Blagojevich was removed from office in 2009 and April 2011, Gov. Quinn had decided on 1,195 petitions and has continued to respond to petitions throughout his time in office.
* Fox News Chicago reported that following the pre-Christmas holiday tradition in the state, in early December, Gov. Quinn granted clemency for 75 individuals while denying over 100 other requests.
* Among those given clemency by the governor in December were two convicted killers: Ida Mae West, 66, who was convicted of manslaughter in 1965 and Johnny Savory, 49, who was imprisoned for murder for his crime and who was only granted the right to travel outside Illinois.
* The Associated Press added that on Jan. 3, he responded to another 173 petitions by granting 74 and denying 99 that came from dockets between 2004 and 2007.
* Additionally, after signing a bill abolishing capital punishment in the state last year, Gov. Quinn commuted the sentences of all 15 men who were on death row at the time.
* While campaigning for the office of governor in 2010, Quinn promised to eliminate the backlog of over 3,000 pending petitions for clemency, which had continued to accumulate throughout Blagojevich's administration, by the end of 2011, noted the Chicago Sun-Times.
* As of November, Gov. Quinn had only responded to 761 requests since making his 2010 campaign promise and by then another 700 petitions had been filed for potential pardon review.
Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. As a college student from the Chicago suburbs pursuing two science degrees, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.
- Pat Quinn