Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Blagojevich benefits from a process he spurned as governor
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Blagojevich benefits from a process he spurned as governor

Friday, Feb 21, 2020

* Kim Bellware at the Washington Post

As a newly minted member of the Illinois General Assembly in 2007, Rep. La Shawn Ford of Chicago remembers his first bill: a proposal to eliminate from state job applications the question asking if someone had ever been convicted of a nonviolent crime. Then-Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich (D) vetoed it.

The veto was one of the many choices Blagojevich’s critics now cite as part of his dismal track record on criminal-justice reform while governor, an office from which he was later impeached and removed and ultimately convicted of leveraging for financial gain in a 2009 political corruption trial that led to his 14-year prison sentence. Blagojevich’s history on criminal justice is especially striking now that he’s received the mercy he rarely showed others as the state’s top executive — a commutation Tuesday from President Trump. […]

According to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board, Blagojevich took action on fewer than 25 percent of clemency petitions filed while he was governor, NBC Chicago reported in 2016 — 13 years after the backlog began. A group of Illinoisans with felony records went as far as suing Blagojevich over his inaction on clemency requests. […]

“There were ‘actual innocence’ petitions that some of our clients needed to get compensation for all the years they wrongfully spent in prison, and even those were stalled,” Drizin said. It got so bad that state lawmakers, still during Blagojevich’s tenure, created a workaround process for granting the ultimate forms of expungement because the governor’s office was so ineffective.

* Jennifer Soble, the executive director of the Illinois Prison Project

Illinois has done away with many of the mechanisms that other states rely on to make sure that people who can be safely returned to the community do not languish in prison.

Our state abolished parole in 1978. Eleven years later, Illinois made it extraordinarily difficult, and often impossible, for people in prison to get their sentences reduced through good behavior.

Illinois has no mechanism for releasing the terminally ill or the medically incapacitated. Our state has rendered rehabilitation, personal growth and mercy irrelevant.

In this landscape of despair, executive commutation of a sentence has remained a glimmering hope for thousands upon thousands of people who simply should not be in prison.

We are talking about people like Basil Powell, a 69-year-old man who has served more than 36 years of a natural life sentence for his role as the getaway driver in gas station robberies in which no one was hurt. He was sentenced to die in prison even though he was unarmed during the robberies, even though his armed codefendant went home after six years, and even though he has a wife, a daughter and four grandchildren at home.

Blagojevich, who yesterday was the beneficiary of executive grace, ignored the petition of Basil Powell, just as he ignored thousands upon thousands of other equally reasonable and compelling requests for relief.

* Meanwhile, he has to find a job

Trump’s order specifically noted the president was not commuting the two-year period of supervised release imposed by U.S. Judge James Zagel. Under the conditions, Blagojevich has to meet with probation regularly, cannot leave the jurisdiction without permission and must seek employment.

If he has trouble finding a job, Blagojevich must do at least 20 hours a week of community service until he finds one, with a maximum 200 hours served.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Sean - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:21 am:

    He could knockout 200 hours of “community service” in 2.5 weeks and be done with it. I’m not sure he can pull himself away from the cameras long enough to actually complete the hours, though.

  2. - 47th Ward - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:22 am:

    Maybe he can volunteer at Lurie Children’s Hospital, preferably by washing soiled diapers?

  3. - Oak Parker - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:24 am:

    It’s a good thing that criminal justice reform has become a lot more mainstream in the past 15 years.

  4. - Perrid - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:25 am:

    Does the maximum of 200 hours mean he can only take 10 weeks to get a job, or can he stop the community service after 10 weeks without a job?

  5. - Leatherneck - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:27 am:

    - Sean - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:21 am:

    He could knockout 200 hours of “community service” in 2.5 weeks and be done with it. I’m not sure he can pull himself away from the cameras long enough to actually complete the hours, though.

    I’m sure the cameras will follow him to his community service projects.

  6. - NIref - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:38 am:

    Biological compost artist?

  7. - Proud Sucker - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:40 am:

    === Maybe he can volunteer at Lurie Children’s Hospital, preferably by washing soiled diapers? ===

    Boom, 47th wins the internet.

  8. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:41 am:

    What would it take for the Feds to recognize gagging the guy as Community Service?

  9. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:41 am:

    “La Shawn Ford of Chicago remembers his first bill: a proposal to eliminate from state job applications the question asking if someone had ever been convicted of a nonviolent crime”

    That bill eventual was passed as the “Ban the Box” law. It will be a big help to La Shawn Ford when he is done in Springfield….

    Friday, November 7, 2014
    Ford was sentenced to six months’ probation after he plead guilty to a misdemeanor tax charge. He has also paid his owed back taxes and will complete 100 hours of community service.

  10. - Commisar Gritty - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:41 am:

    If he’s lookin for work, he’d make one heck of a rug salesman

  11. - RNUG - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:45 am:

    Does talking to the press about the wrongs of the justice system the count as community service?

  12. - Nick Name - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:46 am:

    ===Meanwhile, he has to find a job…===

    Looks like my comment here was more on-topic than I thought:

  13. - NIU Grad - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:46 am:

    Although he’s avoiding actual interviews, I hope this is the first question asked by a journalist when they get the opportunity: “With all of your talk about the overtly strict justice system, do you feel regret that you did not take any action to rectify it during your many years of public service?”

    This should be asked every time he complains about the “injustice” he faced.

  14. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:46 am:

    Legal assistance to the lawyers tasked to write and process commutations/pardons sent to Governor Pritzker.

    Do all the legwork and intern-like work preparing these documents.

  15. - Norseman - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:50 am:

    Now that he’s become a Trump shill I’m sure CNN would consider adding him to their bevy of shills. Fox will likely be a fallback position for him. All Blago needs to do is dye his hair black again.

  16. - SAP - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:53 am:

    That Just For Men endorsement is just sitting there.

  17. - Wensicia - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 11:13 am:

    Does anyone really believe Blagojevich wants to help others find relief from criminal injustice and wrongful imprisonment, if he had the opportunity?

    It’s all about his supposed suffering, not anyone else’s.

  18. - Pundent - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 11:33 am:

    =Does anyone really believe Blagojevich wants to help others find relief from criminal injustice and wrongful imprisonment, if he had the opportunity?=

    Yes I do. He’s already working on behalf of people like Manafort, Flynn, Gates, and Stone.

  19. - Perrid - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 12:09 pm:

    OW, don’t you think Blago working on someone’s case might hurt them more than help them? The idea is a good penance for him, but might be counterproductive to those he’s “helping”.

  20. - Sayitaintso - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 12:11 pm:

    He should be required to carry around a State Trooper’s hair dryer for 200 hours over 3 months.

  21. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 12:13 pm:

    - Perrid -

    You may be quite right, Blago himself wasn’t impressed with his litigating prowess as an assistant SA, but I guess I’m coming at this, 100% snark, but irony too, that this former disgraced governor, who used media and cajoling by his wife, must learn that the outcome of law and processes aren’t predicated by television ratings. Actual work takes place in the system.

    Just a thought. Nothing more.

  22. - Bourbon Street - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 3:18 pm:

    It would be nice if the audiences for Rod’s “Injustice Tour” were packed with former inmates whose petitions for clemency Rod ignored while governor.

  23. - OnlyGoodIdeas - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 4:18 pm:

    Blago should get a job as a furniture salesperson. Imagine the commercials of him selling golden chairs, it would leave everyone wanting to buy one

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Mid-October oral arguments for Bailey v. Pritzker
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Question of the day
* Lawyers try to block ComEd $200 million fine payment, claiming it should go to victims instead
* Bureau, Cass, Clinton, Franklin, Greene, Grundy, Hancock, Jefferson, Kane, LaSalle, Moultrie, Perry, Union and Will counties put on warning list
* 2,264 new cases, 25 additional deaths, 4.1 percent positivity rates
* Formerly defiant Hutsonville school board bows to reality of mask-related lawsuits
* *** UPDATED x2 *** A brand new approach to lobbying
* How the McCormick Place hospital quickly came together as the pandemic raged
* Gaming analyst to Chicago: Time to get moving
* Pritzker warns against Missouri travel
* Open thread
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* *** UPDATED x3 *** Sen. Link charged with income tax evasion
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...





Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller