April 6, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today granted 52 and denied 136 clemency petitions. This action marks another step in a series of clemency decisions aimed at eliminating a backlog of more than 2,500 cases that built up during the previous administration.
The 188 clemency petitions acted upon by Governor Quinn are part of dockets ranging from 2005 through 2012. Each person granted clemency has recently undergone a criminal background check through the Illinois State Police’s Law Enforcement Agencies Data System (LEADS).
Since taking office, Governor Quinn has acted on 1,923 clemency petitions. Governor Quinn has granted 718 and denied 1205 petitions. Those actions include granting 701 pardons and authorizing 16 people who had already received pardons to seek expungement of their convictions.
Among those pardoned was Guadalupe Lopez, 59. Lopez had been sentenced to 42 years in prison for drug trafficking after being caught with 12 pounds of marijuana and 23 pounds in a van with another man in 1992. He was was set to be released in next March after time off for good behavior, but Gov. Quinn reportedly commuted Lopez’s sentence to time served due to an emergency medical condition. Medical clemencies tend to be granted when a person is expected to live less than a year.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, “Twenty-five involved theft. Sixteen involved drugs. Eight offenses included some kind of violence, such as misdemeanor battery.” Though it has been reported that Gov. Quinn has expunged the criminal records of many he pardoned, he actually just granted them the authorization to expunge. Those having been pardoned still have to go through the normal expungement process and file a petition with the court.