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Illinois Governor Pardons 19

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Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich issued 19 pardons this week. They come at a time when the governor has been under fire for more than a thousand clemency petitions still awaiting his decision.

Many of the pardons the governor issued Wednesday were to people like Helene Rene Veit, who was sentenced to two years probation on a drug related charge. She didn’t know about the pardon until a Chicago Tribune reporter called her.

Three of the people pardoned were exonerated in 2002 after being imprisoned for a 1997 kidnapping and murder. A federal investigation proved they were innocent. But a pardon means the record of a felony conviction can be expunged. There’s a group of convicted felons suing the Blagojevich administration on the grounds they’ve been waiting for years for him to decide their cases. They were not among the 19 people on this week’s list.

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