Most of the petitioners for pardons already served their sentences and have spent years out of prison, contributing to society and getting their lives back on track. These individuals are seeking pardons so that their name will be cleared, and certain opportunities and rights will be restored.
However, some of the petitioners for clemency are still in prison, and are petitioning the governor to commute their sentence to time served. In these cases, the petitioner’s attorney sometimes argues that the sentence his client received was unjust and did not fit the crime. The Tribune yesterday highlighted one such case, of a woman who has served 26 years in state prison for helping to kill her abusive husband in 1986. The woman and her brother were convicted to life in prison for the crime.
In a video posted to the Tribune’s website, the woman’s attorney and sister both provide testimony to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board. For pardon candidates who will be appearing at a future clemency hearing, this video is a helpful example of what to expect in the testimony portion of the hearing. This video is edited and does not include any objection from the state’s attorney, or questions from the Prisoner Review Board to the petitioner and attorney.
The current clemency hearings wrap up this week in Chicago. The next round of hearings will be at the state capitol in Springfield in January.