130 on Death Row write Ryan for help: More than 130 Death Row inmates took the first step by early Monday evening toward persuading Gov. Ryan to reduce their sentences to life in prison before he leaves office in January. Almost all 160 Death Row inmates were expected to file clemency petitions by a Monday deadline to be placed on the Prisoner Review Board's October docket and reach the governor before he retires.
I do wonder what the ol' gov will do with these.
For example, I would think that all cases having anything to do with Commander Jon Burge and his precinct would automatically get clemency. At this late date, it's going to be almost impossible to determine which people were abused and which are only claiming abuse.
I wonder if the governor will explain to the public his reasons behind whom he choses and whom he denies. I mean, I could be said to be a bleeding-heart liberal, and even I would twitch mightily at the very idea of commuting Jacqueline Williams sentence, or that of the man who helped her commit that crime. (The baby survived the murder of his mother, and was actually in their possession when they were arrested. Of that crime, at least, there seems remarkably little doubt.)
The prosecutors may be terribly upset -- after all, it reflects on their work and their ethics to have the governor say, "Well, I think there's some chance this person may be innocent, so I'm commuting their sentence," -- but as I understand the Illinois constitution, there's not a damn thing they can do other than try to rally public opinion to their side. Granted, in this day and age, the public will, for the most part, be on the side of the prosecutors. However, when you've been as thoroughly worked over during your administration as Governor Ryan has, I don't imagine that you really care much what the public thinks of you doing something you feel to be the moral and right thing to do. (It's almost a certainty that he'll be indicted on some corruption charge as soon as he leaves office. Too many people near him have been charged in the "licenses for bribes" and other scandals for him to escape. And he may not want to; however difficult a trial might be, at least it would give him some chance to clear his name, if he's innocent. Then again, he might be found guilty regardless of actual innocence ... But I digress.)