Quinn Says Pardon You (Times 11)

Governor says "justice delayed is justice denied."

Gov. Pat Quinn says he wants to drastically reduce the state's clemency petition backlog, and on Friday he started work, pardoning 11 people and ordering their criminal records be expunged.

He said it's part of an effort to clear what he calls a "shameful" backlog of almost 2,500 clemency requests that built up under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

"Justice delayed is justice denied," Quinn said in a statement. "My administration is fully committed to erasing this shameful log jam of cases in a methodical manner and with all deliberate speed."

Quinn said crimes committed by those who were pardoned include drug possession, aggravated battery and burglary, and he said Friday's action is just the first in a series of clemency petitions he will act on with the goal of drastically reducing the backlog by the end of the year.

"We are working tirelessly to solve this problem and to make sure it never happens again," Quinn said.

Blagojevich rarely acted on pardon applications during his six years in office, but granted pardons more often in the months leading up to his impeachment and removal from office, including nearly two dozen people about two weeks after his arrest on corruption charges.

Quinn said each person he pardoned underwent a criminal background check.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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