PARDONS AND CLEMENCY
Executive clemency may be a good option for convictions that are not eligible for expungement or sealing. An executive clemency is a catch-all term for pardon, commutation or reprieve. Although used interchangeably, a reprieve suspends a death sentence; a commutation reduces a sentence and a pardon forgives the crime. The petition for executive clemency must be type-written and filed with the Prisoner Review Board (PRB). The petition must be signed and notarized. The client may seek an executive clemency for any state of Illinois conviction, and he need not wait to be released (if in prison) before filing a petition. It is a detailed and involved process that requires the applicant to disclose his or her complete personal and criminal history. The applicant should therefore get his RAP sheet before completing the petition. Once the completed petition is sent to PRB a docket number is issued to the client. If the petition is incomplete PRB will send a letter to client requesting the missing information. The client then has 90 days to supply the missing information. NOTE: Additional copy of the petition must be sent by client to the sentencing or chief judge and the state’s attorney’s office (see below).
A hearing may be requested where the applicant and his supporters will testify before the board. A hearing is optional. Clemency hearings are held quarterly; however, the petition must be received 75 days before the scheduled public hearing date. PRB makes a recommendation and then forwards it to the governor (generally 60 days after the hearing). There is no deadline for the governor to make a decision. If the petition is denied, client must wait one year before reapplying unless the one year wait period is waived by the Prisoner Review Board. A waiver may be granted based on new information or a change in circumstance.
There is no filing fee.
NOTE: Expungement of a conviction pardoned is not automatic. People v. Thon 746 N.E.2d 1225 (2001). Pardon involves forgiveness but not forgetfulness. Talarico v. Dunlap 685 N.E.2d 325 (1997). To expunge a conviction, the governor’s pardon must specifically state that the conviction may be expunged. 20 ILCS 2630/5.2(e); People v. Howard 909 N.E.2d 724 (2009).
The only way to remove federal criminal convictions is through an executive clemency. An executive clemency may be in the form of a pardon, commutation, reprieve or remission of fine. The petition should be obtained and filed with the Office of the Pardon Attorney. The office assists the President in the exercise of the executive clemency of federal offenses by reviewing and investigating each petition and making recommendations to the President.
NOTE: It is difficult to get an executive clemency.
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