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Clemency Petitions in Illinois

April 27, 2008

For most people with a felony in their background, Clemency is the best option to clear that mark.  With few exceptions (certain drug cases and prostitution) this is the only option.  That is also true for some misdemeanor offenses which are excluded from the expungement process.

The process of seeking executive clemency involves a written petition and a hearing before the Illinois Prisoner Review Board.   The Board then makes a reccomendation to the Governor’s office who makes the ultimate decision.

Clemency is essentially seeking forgiveness for your action or putting forth additional or new defenses to your previous case.  The petition and the hearing are governed by administrative rules that dictate with great specificity what the contents are to be, what documentation must be attached and what must be done at the hearing.

It is both a judicial and political proceeding.  It manages to mix many rules for the petitioner with few if any on the Governor.  In Illinois there is a tremendous backlog.  In fact, a lawsuit has been filed against Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich in an attmep to get some decision made on the cases that are piling up on his desk.

A lawyer can help a lot in the process.  The writing, production and tone of the hearing are difficult to deal with if you haven’t seen them.

Brucar & Yetter has done many of these petitions and are a good source of information.