Free Pardon Applications

Making headlines in Illinois recently, Governor Quinn recently granted clemency to over 80 pardons applicants. For these people, this may be the first step to expunging their records and removing the record from public view. In the state of Illinois, a pardon is available to anyone with a conviction on their record, who may otherwise be barred from obtaining an expungement. A pardon is commonly understood to mean that the state forgives, but does not forget, the past offense; a pardon can however, make someone eligible for an expungement when they would not otherwise be.

Pardons are not automatically all-encompassing, and must explicitly state that they allow the individual pardoned to obtain an expungement as a result of it. If, however, a pardon is granted that allows expungement, that expungement is guaranteed by statute. The Prison Review Board dictates how the pardon process functions, and meets quarterly to review pardon applications. Once a pardon is approved the by the Prison Review Board, it is then reviewed by the Governor, who may approve or deny, in whole or in part.

A petitioner may also request a public hearing, which will allow them, as well as up to 3 additional people, to testify on their behalf to demonstrate need and desert for the pardon.
The pardons process in Illinois is lengthy, with some of the pardons granted by Quinn originating during the office of his predecessor. Review of an application takes into account a myriad factors including time since last conviction, the severity of the offense, and any positive steps a petitioner has taken since the convictions.

Obtaining legal counsel to apply for clemency or a pardon is generally advisable, because when someone’s petition is denied, they must wait an additional year before re-applying. Filing in certain counties can be more confusing, or even just different, and allowing someone with experience to assist in the process can facilitate only needing to file once. Hiring an attorney can also ensure a granted pardon allows the petitioner to file for expungement after the pardon is granted, instead of relying on the discretion of the courts.

Written by Record Clearing

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