Friday, March 20, 2009

State court: Pardon doesn't mean clean slate

Daily Herald:
The Illinois Supreme Court ruled Thursday that gubernatorial pardons based on convicts' innocence do not automatically clear their criminal record -- a decision some attorneys said would cause their clients undue anguish.

The ruling involves pardons that declared two men, Stanley Howard and Dana Holland, innocent of violent crimes and could have been the first step to officially wiping away their convictions. But when the men took steps to expunge their records, judges said no.
Thursday's ruling applies only to pardons where a convict is declared innocent -- not to pardons issued on other grounds, like failing health. In recent decades, there have been only several dozen pardons that explicitly declared a convict's innocence.

A key issue the Illinois Supreme Court grappled with was whether lawmakers meant to give courts discretion over whether to wipe clear the record of someone wrongly convicted. In its ruling, the court found they did have that discretion.

"But our position is that the language intended that once the governor issued a pardon, then expungement would be automatically carried out by the court," said Holland's attorney, Karen Daniel. "The Supreme Court didn't see it that way."

In Howard's case, attorneys representing Illinois argued in circuit court that he shouldn't have his record regarding the wrongful conviction cleared because he had other criminal convictions that were not in doubt.
Via CapFax morning shorts!

No comments:

Post a Comment

PLEASE READ FIRST!!!! Comment Moderating and Anonymous Comment Policy

While anonymous comments are not prohibited we do encourage you to help readers identify you so that other commenters may respond to you. Either read the moderating policy for how or leave an identifier (which could be a nickname for example) at the end of the comment.

Also note that this blog is NOT associated with any public or political officials including Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer!