Please join me on October 2, 2021, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at the 2021 DuPage County Expungement Clinic where I will be spending the day volunteering my time and sharing my knowledge to assist clients with the preparation of Petitions to Expunge and/or Seal and related documents. Volunteer attorneys, such as myself, will be not only assisting with document preparation, but more importantly, providing guidance on case eligibility for expungement or sealing relief, as well as information on the expungement (and sealing) process from start to finish. This event will be held at the Administration Building in DuPage County, at 421 North County Farm Road, Wheaton, Illinois. This event will very likely change lives for many people and I am proud to be able to participate alongside of the good folks from the Public Interest Law Initiative.
Not quite two (2) Fridays ago, perhaps in advance of the upcoming Easter holiday as is common tradition, Governor J. B. Pritzker granted a total of thirteen (13) Petitions for Executive Clemency. Most of these grants were in the forms of a pardon authorizing expungement of the underlying case or cases in the appropriate county’s or counties’ Circuit Court(s), but there were included amongst the success stories three (3) commutations of sentences. The convictions at issue ranged, as usual, from felonies to misdemeanors/ordinance violations, and the crimes were both of a violent and non-violent nature, and included burglary, theft, forgery, drug offenses, battery and murder. The convictions spanned a period of twenty (25) years, from 1985 to 2010. None of these pardons recently granted included any restoration of firearm ownership privileges and/or rights. I am very proud to say that one (1) of my clients was included in this group of individuals granted relief from past convictions and I am sincerely elated for this extremely deserving individual.
Prior to this recent batch of clemency grants, Governor Pritzker granted twenty-four (24) undoubtedly deserving individuals relief through the executive clemency process; nineteen (19) individuals were granted a pardon with authorization to expunge (two (2) of these did include restoration of firearm ownership privileges and/or rights) and five (5) people’s sentences were commuted on December 18, 2020. Again, the convictions ranged from serious, violent felonies to less serious, non-violent misdemeanors, and spanned the years from 1981 to to 2016. Additionally, on January 14, 2021, Governor Pritzker commuted one (1) person’s sentence on a 2012 second degree murder and burglary conviction and just two (2) days later, he commuted a sentence on a 2016 aggravated discharge of a firearm conviction.
A heartfelt thanks goes out to Governor Pritzker for acting on these very important restorative justice issues, even during the current pandemic we are suffering through, and a sincere congratulations to everyone who was the recipient of relief through the clemency process!
Hello and Happy New Year to all! I have just received the official press list of the 20 individuals to whom Governor Pritzker has granted executive clemency authorizing expungement and I can advise that this list includes, as usual, people with both misdemeanor and felony convictions, ranging in nature from non-violent drug offenses to crimes of violence, including battery, unlawful use of a weapon and resisting a peace officer. There were several pardons authorizing expungement granted today for (retail) theft convictions and there was even one pardon with authorization to expunge a conviction involving domestic battery and endangering the life and health of a child. Some of these pardoned individuals spent time in prison while others were on probation or conditional discharge for a period of time. The most recent case appearing to be pardoned occurred in 2011, while the oldest dated back to 1975. I have no doubt that all of these people, like so many of us, made a mistake or two in their past but have moved on in a healthy and productive way, thus earning this highly coveted relief from the Governor. It is unclear to me at this point if any of these pardons with authorization to expunge granted today restored firearm ownership privileges to anyone.
In addition to granting these undoubtedly deserving individuals relief through the formal written pardon process, Governor Pritzker also granted relief today to over 11,000 people with minor cannabis offenses on their backgrounds, allowing them a fresh start as well.
Congratulations to everyone receiving a second chance and for those of you reading this with some blemishes still remaining on your own record, please consider reaching out to me for a free consultation and a brief overview of current the expungement, sealing and executive clemency processes. I’d be glad to help if I can!
After reviewing a batch of clemency petitions in both November and December, 2018, and granting just a few petitions each time (including commuting the sentences of six young men who were given lengthy prison sentences for what were described as “minor” infractions at a southern Illinois youth correctional facility on December 27, 2018), outgoing Governor Rauner granted thirty pardons with authorization to expunge, most of which contained language restoring firearm ownership privileges as well, on January 11, 2019. He also granted an additional four commutations, two of which were for murder convictions, thereby shortening the sentences of the individuals currently incarcerated for those crimes. When Governor Rauner exited office, there were no pending clemency petitions left for newly elected Governor Pritzker to inherit.
I am proud to say that two of my own clients were granted executive clemency with authorization to expunge, including the restoration of their firearm privileges, in this last batch of decisions by now ex-Governor Rauner. A very sincere congratulations to all the deserving individuals who were successful in obtaining what is referred to as an “extraordinary remedy”! We shall now see what incoming Governor Pritzker will do for worthy candidates for executive clemency, only time will tell.
If your clemency petition was denied, please know that many candidates do have to petition for relief at least twice, sometimes even three or more times. There is a standard waiting period of one year from the date of denial before you are able to submit a new petition for executive clemency, but that time frame can be waived under certain circumstances. Please consider contacting an attorney knowledgeable in this highly nuanced area of the law to assist you in preparing your petition for executive clemency with authorization to expunge, possibly with restoration of firearm ownership privileges.
On Good Friday of this year (March 30, 2018), Governor Bruce Rauner granted six (6) individuals Executive Clemency with Authorization to Expunge their decades old convictions. Three (3) convictions were for burglary, one (1) for retail theft, one (1) for unlawful delivery of a controlled substance and one (1) for possession of a stolen motor vehicle. One of the burglary cases dated back to 1959! The most recent conviction was for burglary, as well, but occurred in 1993. Three (3) of the cases were out of Cook County, one (1) from Massac County, one (1) from Peoria County and finally, one (1) from Randolph County. Congratulations to these undoubtedly deserving individuals for receiving a true second chance.
Last Friday, Governor Rauner granted another seven (7) clemency petitions to individuals with convictions dating as far back as 1985 and as recent as 2008. Each of these undoubtedly deserving individuals had one or more convictions for crimes ranging from possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver to burglary and unlawful use of a weapon, from criminal trespass to vehicle to forgery, and from domestic battery to theft/retail theft. The Illinois counties where these now pardoned convictions occurred spanned from Cook to McLean to Winnebago.
Once again, I am pleased to write that one of my own clients received a pardon with authorization to expunge with restoration of his 2nd amendment rights i.e., his ability to own and possess firearms has now been restored. I am of course proud of my work but suffice it to say that I could not have achieved such a result without such a fantastic and deserving client.
The best part of my job is calling a client who has been waiting for years on a decision from the Governor to report that his/her Petition for Executive Clemency with Authorization to Expunge has finally been granted. If you are in need of help to clear off your criminal record, please consider calling me for a free case analysis, to see if one day I may be able to deliver such fantastic news to you!
Just this past Thursday, August 24, 2017 Governor Rauner signed Illinois House Bill 2373, which expands the current Illinois Criminal Identification Act to allow for virtually ALL felonies to be eligible for sealing relief! Effective immediately, any felony conviction, except for those currently found listed at 20 ILCS 2630/5.2 (a)(3)(A) (i.e., domestic battery and/or violation of an order of protection, Class A and above offenses listed under the Humane Care for Animals Act, driving under the influence and reckless driving (with the youthful offender exception) and sex crimes under Article 11 of the Criminal Code of 2012) will now be eligible for sealing relief through the court system! The three (3) year waiting period (as determined from the end of the last criminal sentence on a person’s record) remains in effect, though on convictions that require a person to register on the Murder and Violence Offense Against Youth Registry, that person cannot apply for sealing relief until he or she is no longer required to remain on the registry.
Many individuals who have been told by me, or other attorneys, that they are simply and unfortunately ineligible to petition for sealing relief can now revist the issue to see if this barrier has effectively been removed…I dare say in many, if not most cases, the answer to that question will be “yes”. Keep in mind sealing is not as comprehensive of relief as expungement is, but this is absolutely a huge positive step in the right direction by our legislature and it will undoubtedly help many in need of finding jobs, housing, etc. Please do not hesitate to reach out should you have questions about whether or not this monumental expansion pertains to your own situation.
Last Friday, June 30, 2017 Governor Rauner addressed another batch of Illinois clemency petitions, granting 10 pardons with authorization to expunge and denying 104. The pardons that were issued were for cases ranging in dates from 1981 to 2000 and were for offenses including aggravated assault, aggravated battery, retail theft, theft, forgery and assorted felony drug crimes. I am beyond pleased to report that 1 of my clients is included in this batch of 10 successful petitions; congratulations to him and to the 9 other undoubtedly deserving candidates.
In his 16th batch of clemency petition decisions since taking office in January of 2015, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner granted pardons authorizing expungement to five (5) individuals on April 14, 2017: one (1) individual was granted relief from a 1992 felony theft case in Champaign County, there were three (3) felony drug cases ranging in years from 1996 to 1999 (two (2) in Cook County, one (1) in McLean County) that were pardoned with leave to file a petition to expunge and finally, one (1) individual received executive clemency authorizing expungement on a 1999 felony aggravated battery case out of Macon County. One hundred forty (140) petitions for executive clemency were denied by Governor Rauner this time around.
With Rauner’s “grant rate” for pardon petitions hovering at just three percent (3%), I am certain there are a good amount of deserving individuals who are falling through the cracks, which is unfortunate. There is no other available remedy for individuals pursuing this so-called “extraordinary relief” through the Governor; many good people who have made bad decisions in their past are struggling to find jobs, housing and other relief because of the strictness of Illinois’ expunging, sealing and clemency laws. I hope we continue to make progress as a State in passing new legislation with a greater breadth of relief.
The Westside Baptist Ministers Conference, Workship Coalition, Inc., and The Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County are hosting an expungement summit on Saturday, January 21, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 325 S. California Ave., Chicago, IL 60612. Volunteer attorneys will assist registered attendees with filing applications for expungements and sealings; pre-registration is required and you can call 872-395-3551 to sign up. Seating is limited. Registered attendees must bring RAP sheets and certified case dispositions with them to the summit.
I hope to see you there!