The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice has approved new statewide forms for expunging and sealing records in Illinois. This will greatly streamline and simplify the expunging and sealing process as there will no longer be different forms from county to county that pro se petitioners and attorneys alike must familiarize themselves with. Moreover, the new forms deal with a wide range of possible scenarios a petitioner is confronted with, including when/if he or she is receiving an expungement post gubernatorial pardon: pursuant to 20 ILCS 2630/5.2(e), “Whenever a person who has been convicted of an offense is granted a pardon by the Governor which specifically authorizes expungement, he or she may, upon verified petition to the Chief Judge…have a court order entered expunging the record of arrest from the official records of the arresting authority and order that the records of the circuit court clerk and the Department be sealed until further order of the court…” (emphasis added). While this is patently unfair, in my professional opinion, and a person who has been granted a pardon with authorization to expunge should receive the full benefit of the expungement (i.e., not sealing), this is how the statute is currently worded. In the past, an entirely separate form dealing with this particular type of petitioner was necessary. The new forms, specifically the Order to Expunge and Impound, account for this scenario along with many others.
Governor Rauner decides another 100 clemency petitions on February 11, 2016
While it may be too early to say this decisively, it certainly looks as though Governor Rauner is attempting to make clemency decisions a monthly activity during his 2016 tenure. Yesterday, he decided an additional 100 clemency petitions, granting 2 individuals pardons with authorization to expunge and denying the other 98 petitions for relief. I will say once again I am very pleased with the speed with which Governor Rauner is addressing the pending petitions, however, I am all but certain there were more than 2 individuals deserving of relief in the batch of petitions that were reviewed by the Governor.
Of the 2 people who were fortunate enough to receive the coveted pardon authorizing expungement yesterday, one had a felony conviction for burglary stemming from a 1993 case and the other had received a sentence of court supervision on two misdemeanor charges dating back to 2007: fleeing/attempting to elude an officer and driving under the influence (DUI). Typically, a sentence of court supervision (assuming it stands in isolation on a person’s record) is expungeable without gubernatorial intervention, however, DUI cases are an exception to that rule under the Illinois Criminal Identification Act.
Illinois Governor Rauner grants 5 clemency petitions, denies 149 on January 15, 2016
In his first act of executive clemency this calendar year, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner decides a total of 154 clemency petitions, granting 5 and denying 149. Once again, I am pleased to say that I have a client among the 5 who was fortunate enough to receive this extraordinary remedy! The offenses pardoned ranged from forgery, battery and domestic battery to burglary and the offenses ranged in dates from 1987 to 2004. Moreover, the decided petitions dated back to 2009 and reduce the backlog of undecided petitions from previous administrations down to approximately 900 petitions.
Congratulations to the individuals receiving pardons with authorization to expunge! If you or someone you know is in need of executive clemency, please feel free to contact me for a free analysis of your case.
Governor Rauner grants clemency to 7 individuals on 12/23/15
In what is very likely his final grant of clemencies this year, Governor Bruce Rauner has granted 7 people pardons with authorization to expunge their past convictions in Illinois on December 23, 2015. I am proud to say that one of these deserving individuals is my client; I couldn’t be happier for him! Unfortunately, Governor Rauner denied 247 petitions for clemency in this latest round of decisions.
According to news sources, there are still around 1,000 petitions for executive clemency pending from previous administrations, with new petitions being filed each quarter. When a person is not eligible for either expungement or sealing of his or her criminal record, he or she must pursue a grant of executive clemency, or pardon, through the Governor. Navigating through the complex Illinois Criminal Identification Act can be a daunting task so I encourage you to contact an attorney well-versed in this area of law to help you determine your best course of action. I have been focusing my law practice on criminal records law since its inception in 2010 and would be very happy to speak or meet with you with regards to your needs in this area.
Happy Holidays to all and sincerest congratulations to those receiving pardons.
Governor Rauner decides over two hundred clemency petitions on the eve of Thanksgiving 2015
The good news is that Governor Rauner has acted on yet another batch of clemency petitions, the fifth such group since he has taken office earlier this year. The not-so-great news is that out of the two hundred ten (210) petitions he decided, he granted only ten (10) and denied two hundred (200). While I would absolutely like to see more deserving petitions being granted by our present Illinois Governor, I will say I admire the relative speed in which he is deciding such petitions. My only hope is that deserving petitioners are not being overlooked in haste.
While I don’t yet have any details concerning what offenses have actually received pardons today, based on my previous analyses of Governor Rauner’s clemency decisions I believe it is safe to surmise that at least some very deserving petitioners were unfortunately denied relief in this recent batch of decisions. Fortunately, a petitioner who has been denied relief is able to file a new petition one (1) year after such denial and moreover, in some circumstances, that waiting period can actually be waived upon a showing of good cause. If you have been denied executive clemency, with or without authorization to expunge, please feel free to contact me for a free consultation about your case. I will give you my best professional opinion as to what went wrong and how to best go about rectifying the situation in a subsequent clemency petition.
Best wishes to all for a very happy Thanksgiving.
June 6, 2015: Annual Cook County Expungement Summit
Once again, I will be volunteering my day at the annual Adult & Juvenile Expungement Summit and Ex-Offender Job Information Seminar and would love to see you there! This year’s event will be held on June 6, 2015 at the Living Word Christian Center, 7600 West Roosevelt Road in Forest Park and opens at 8:30 a.m. Although the event runs through 6 p.m., I do suggest getting there as early as possible. Attorney volunteers, like myself, will be providing information on adult felony and misdemeanor expungements and sealings, juvenile record expungement, as well as information on executive clemency and certificates of relief from disabilities and good conduct. On-site drug testing will be available and you will be able to obtain certified case dispositions at the event as well. Qualified applicants will be able to file expungement and/or sealing petitions for free on-site at the Summit. For more details about the event, please call 312-603-5200 or 312-603-4641. You may also see the official Expungement Summit Guide here.
Newly-elected Republican Governor Rauner decides 59 Clemency Petitions on Good Friday
In keeping with his predecessor’s tradition of releasing clemency petition decisions on major holidays, Governor Bruce Rauner granted two (2) pardons with authorization to expunge over this past Easter weekend. In total, our new Governor decided fifty-nine (59) petitions for executive clemency, granting two (2) and denying fifty-seven (57). While I of course would have liked to have seen more pardons granted, I am very pleased with the fact that a Governor Rauner’s spokesperson stated that going forward, clemency petitions will be reviewed on a “regular basis”. In all honesty I did not expect to see any pardon decisions this soon after Governor Rauner took office; this recent action with regards to clemencies seems to indicate that our new state leadership will continue to regard pardon applications as important and deserving of attention.
Governor Quinn grants pardons to petitioners for the 3rd time in just over a month span
Just a few hours ago, in advance of the New Year, Illinois Governor Quinn grants executive clemency to 102 more individuals. Along with the 102 grants, Gov. Quinn denied 425 petitions, bringing his total number of clemency decisions to 4,489 (1,520 clemency petitions granted and 2,969 petitions denied). I am pleased to report that I have recently received positive results for 3 of my clemency clients, and am anxiously awaiting decisions on many more. I sincerely hope the outgoing Governor Quinn decides at least one more batch of clemency petitions prior to leaving office next month!
Outgoing Governor Pat Quinn decides nearly one thousand more clemency petitions in a one-month span
Throughout his tenure as Illinois Governor, Pat Quinn has truly been a champion in reviewing and deciding Petitions for Executive Clemency. In total, Governor Quinn has reviewed a total of 3,962 petitions, granting 1,418 and denying 2,544. Just this past Christmas Eve (December 24, 2014) he decided a total of 604 clemency petitions, granting 179 of them and denying the remaining 425. Prior to that, on the eve of Thanksgiving, Governor Quinn granted 126 petitions and denied 185. It is my sincere hope that we see at least one more batch of clemency petition decisions prior to Governor Quinn leaving office on January 12, 2015.
2014 Cook County Adult & Juvenile Expungement Summit / Informational Seminar
Please join the Honorable Dorothy Brown, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, and me at this year’s Expungement Summit on June 7, 2014, from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at The Living Word Christian Center, 7600 West Roosevelt Road, Forest Park, IL. This is a full-service annual event where people with criminal records are able to speak with on-site volunteer attorneys about expungements, sealings, petitions for executive clemency and certificates of rehabilitation. There will also be on-site child support services, job training, housing and community resources, identity theft information and much more. Members of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board will also be present to discuss the pardon process for those who do not qualify for either expungement or sealing. This event is truly a wealth of information! Please contact the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County at 312-603-5200 for more information, or you may visit www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org. I look forward to meeting you at this year’s Summit!