Governors' Pardons & Commutations Lawyers
Chicago & DuPage County IL.
When the courts have denied all of your appeals, you may be out of options as far as having a court overturn your conviction or reduce your sentence. A Governor's Pardon or Commutation allows you to appeal to the Governor's mercy and sense of fairness so that you can have your conviction pardoned, or your sentence commuted. A Governor's Pardon is especially useful in addressing old convictions, especially where you can show you have turned your life around, and are deserving of a second chance.
Who Qualifies for a Pardon or Executive Clemency?
Anyone convicted of a crime in Illinois. If your Pardon petition is denied, you can refile it again after 1 year. The technical requirements for filing a pardon under Illinois law can be found at 730 ILCS 5/3-3-13 and Illinois Administrative Code section 1610.180.
Illinois Pardon Procedure
- File your petition for pardon/clemency: If your record is not expungeable or sealable, you must seek a pardon if you want the case cleared from your record, even if you didn’t serve prison or jail time. The petition must be filed with the Governor’s advisory board, the Prisoner Review Board, that includes detailed information about your case and why you are a strong candidate for a Governor’s pardon.
- Hearing before the Board: After your petition is filed, you have the opportunity for a hearing before the Board. We appear at your hearing with you and present your case.
- Board’s recommendation to the Illinois Governor: After your hearing, the Prisoner Review Board sends the petition to the Governor, along with their confidential opinion as to whether you should be pardoned. Their opinion is not binding on the Governor.
- The Governor’s final decision: Your petition is now on the Governor's desk for his decision on your pardon. By law, the Governor is not required to make a decision within any period of time; you must simply wait for his decision. You cannot submit another petition unless you have been formally denied. If the Governor grants your pardon with authorization to also expunge the record, you must then file the petition to expunge with the court. If the Governor denies your petition, you can refile 1 year after denial.
The Governor of Illinois is the only person under the Illinois Constitution with the power to forgive a crime and grant a Pardon. Although the Illinois Review Board makes a recommendation as to whether a pardon should be granted, the Governor is not required under Illinois law to follow the Board's recommendation. The Governor also has the right to issue a full or a partial Pardon. That means some of your crimes may be pardoned while others will remain on your record. Every case is different, and the decisions vary.
The Governor also has the authority under his Pardon power to shorten sentences or can put a sentence on hold, like a death sentence. When the sentence is shortened, it's referred to as a commutation. If the sentence is put on hold, it's referred to as a Reprieve. In the end, it is up to the Governor to decide.
Dvorak Law Offices, LLC has practiced before the Illinois Prison Review Board and understands the rules and procedures when applying for Pardon. We will prepare your Petition highlighting all the good things about you and how you were able to turn your life around. We will make it clear to the Board that you have already paid for your mistakes and to continue to punish is not just or equitable.
If you or your loved one was found guilty, not all hope should be lost. Appellate attorney Richard Dvorak is highly skilled at combing through trial records to understand if his clients have grounds for an appeal. He will fight for your convictions to be reviewed, if your case was mishandled.
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