Congratulations to those receiving clemency, and happy Independence Day to all!
This afternoon, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner released his tenth batch of executive clemency decisions ahead of the 4th of July weekend. For this batch, Rauner decided on 157 petitions, granting seven and denying 150. Of the seven granted, six came in the form of pardon with authorization to expunge, while the other was a commutation of sentence. According to the governor's office, roughly 500 petitions remain in the backlog from previous administrations.
Congratulations to those receiving clemency, and happy Independence Day to all!
According to Michael Sneed of the Chicago Sun-Times, former U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. recently sent a letter to Chicago Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) criticizing Beale’s proposed ordinance to add regulation for rideshare companies Uber and Lyft. Beale’s proposed ordinance would, among other things, mandate drivers for Uber and Lyft to submit to fingerprint background checks.
Holder posits that the fingerprint-based background check can have a discriminatory impact on communities of color. He notes that the FBI records from which the fingerprint checks are drawn are often incomplete and do not always show the results of the arrest. Because people of color are statistically more likely to pick up an arrest, their communities would be disproportionately impacted, even when (as is often the case) those arrests do not result in a conviction.
I support Holder’s criticisms. In my work, people often come to me with their FBI records looking for an expungement or sealing. It is actually relatively rare for the records to comprehensively contain all the information about what happened in a case. They can be a good starting point for me to figure out what is on a person’s record, but they are mostly worthless for determining eligibility to expunge or seal because they so often don’t list the outcomes of the cases.
The ironic part of this is that Uber and Lyft already perform background checks on potential drivers. Many clients have come to me needing to expunge or seal their record specifically because they didn’t pass the background check for these companies. The difference though is that those background checks are designed for employment purposes and therefore typically obtain the disposition information.
Today, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner released his ninth batch of executive clemency decisions just before the Easter weekend. Within this batch of petitions, he granted eight and denied 152. According to the Governor's Office, about 650 remain from the backlog of petitions he inherited when taking office.
Congratulations to those that received their pardons, and good luck to those still waiting!
Tuesday is primary election day in Illinois, and here in Chicago one candidate is dealing with the same struggle many of my clients face—trying to obtain or keep a job despite the stigma of a criminal record. In a hotly contested race for the 5th District Illinois Assembly Seat, voters received campaign mailers featuring an old mugshot photo of incumbent Rep. Ken Dunkin. The date stamp indicates the photo is nearly 20 years old. In addition to the mugshot, the Sun-Times reported that the mailer listed information about the alleged crimes that may be incomplete and inaccurate.
Dunkin’s opponent, Juliana Stratton, insists her campaign had no involvement with sending the mailer. Nonetheless, she has failed to denounce the scare-mongering tactic. She told the Sun-Times that while she’s “an advocate for a second chance” she believes candidates for public office should be held to “a higher standard.”
While there may be some validity to her point, a mailer that paints a candidate in broad strokes as a criminal thug clearly seeks to provoke a knee-jerk disgusted reaction from voters. This type of labelling of individuals as criminals or felons without any explanation or context for their mistakes is what we at the Bryant Chavez Law Office fight against every day. For a politician like Dunkin, it’s one issue among many that citizens will use to decide whether to vote for him. For ordinary people applying for jobs, it often means outright and immediate rejection. Dunkin is lucky he has a public platform for explaining himself. Regular people with criminal records do not, which is why it’s so important that we have opportunities for reformed individuals to expunge or seal their old cases.
In advance of the long holiday weekend, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner released his eighth batch of clemency decisions yesterday, granting two and denying 98. According to the Governor's office, roughly 800 petitions remain in the backlog of clemency decisions.
Congratulations to those that received their long-awaited clemency! We hope to see more joining you soon.
On Friday, January 15, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner issued 154 decisions on clemency petitions, granting five. According to the Governor's office, just over 900 petitions remain from the backlog built up during prior administrations.
Congratulations and Happy Martin Luther King Day to those granted clemency! For everyone else, remember that your time may still so keep hope alive!
In advance of Christmas, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner released his sixth batch of executive clemency decisions today. Of the 254 clemency petitions acted on, seven were granted. All seven clemency actions came in the form of pardons with the authorization to expunge the cases from their criminal record. The linked article includes the list of the seven that received the pardons. According to Governor Rauner's office, about 1,000 clemency petitions remain in the backlog.
Congratulations to those receiving their pardons! I'm sure your good tidings will make for a great holiday season. For those denied or pending, have a Merry Christmas and keep hope alive because your time may still come.
Today, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner released his fifth batch of decisions on executive clemency petitions. The Governor will typically issue clemency decisions ahead of major holidays, with this Thanksgiving being no exception. This batch consists of 210 decisions, with 10 of them being granted. According to Governor Rauner's Office, there are still roughly 1,200 petitions pending in the backlog now. Most of the backlog built up under former Governor Blagojevich.
Congratulations and Happy Thanksgiving to those receiving their pardons! I'm sure that you will have plenty to be thankful for. For those denied or still pending, enjoy your holiday as well and don't give up hope because your time may still come.
President Barack Obama recently issued an executive order requiring federal agencies to "delay inquiries into criminal history until later in the hiring process." The "Ban the Box" order does away with the question on federal job applications asking if the applicant has been convicted of a felony. Many employers use this question as one of the initial filters to sift through applications. As a result, many talented applicants are dropped because of a blemish on their criminal record, no matter how old.
By banning the box, those individuals would at least have the chance to get their foot in the door. Background checks would still be performed on the candidates, but not until after they have already made an impression on those hiring.
In Rex Huppke's column in the Chicago Tribune, he does a great job laying out why banning the box is good, but more is needed. By taking more pro-active steps to help rehabilitated people get employment, we can reduce recidivism and get talented people into positions which need them. Society is helped twice over. Illinois lawmakers have recognized this fact, and have begun implementing some steps. President Obama's executive order will hopefully serve to extend this understanding to the national stage.
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner released 170 executive clemency decisions on this Friday before Labor Day weekend. He granted seven petitions and denied 163. This is Governor Rauner's fourth set of petitions since taking office. According to the Governor's office, nearly 1,500 petitions remain in the backlog built up under previous administrations.
As always, congratulations to those that were granted clemency! For those that were denied or are still pending, don't give up hope! Your chance may still come.
We provide criminal defense legal services in Illinois, focusing on the expungement and sealing of criminal records.