NEWS

Quinn approves more than 130 clemency requests

ADRIANA COLINDRES

Gov. Pat Quinn on Wednesday granted more than 130 requests for clemency from people convicted of past criminal offenses.

The action is part of his effort to clear a "massive backlog" of almost 2,500 cases that accumulated during former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration, a news release from Quinn's office said. The clemency requests on which Quinn acted were made in 2003 and 2004.

The governor's office provided no details about the cases, directing inquiries to the Prisoner Review Board. The board provided only the names of the individuals.

Information about the nature of the offenses and the counties where the cases originated came from Secretary of State Jesse White's office.

The cases generally involved minor crimes, such as forgery and theft, with most of the offenders sentenced to probation terms.

People request clemency for different reasons. Often, they seek certain kinds of jobs from which they're disqualified because of past criminal offenses. But they can clear that obstacle by winning clemency.

Quinn's office said Wednesday that each person who got clemency has gone through a criminal background check. Since becoming governor earlier this year, Quinn has approved 179 clemency petitions and denied 182 of them.

Several of the requests he granted involved cases from circuit courts in GateHouse-area counties. Here are the names of individuals who got clemency, along with their offenses and the years they were sentenced.

BOONE COUNTY

Joseph Graham Collins, theft, 1992.

FULTON COUNTY

Richard Gerald Crawford, deceptive practice, burglary and deceptive practice, 1977, 1979 and 1984.

Christopher James Alig, forgery, 1991.

Mark A. Carpenter, theft, telephone harassment, arson and deceptive practice, 1992, 1987 and 1985.

HENRY COUNTY

Tod Conard, burglary, 1982.

LASALLE COUNTY

Amy Voytko, criminal trespass to motor vehicle, retail theft and telephone harassment, 1993, 1994 and 1999.

MCDONOUGH COUNTY

Lashonda Bates (Lewis), forgery, 1990.

MCLEAN COUNTY

Tony Juneja, unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, 1990.

Elshon Miller, theft, 1996.

Edward James Khan, unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, 1992.

Elizabeth Cotton (Trice), forgery, 1995.

Andre E. Crittle, forgery, 1991.

Kimberly A. Lawson, aggravated battery, 1991.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Joe Wernle, theft and burglary, 1983.

PEORIA COUNTY

Douglas A. Bell, retail theft over $150, 1980.

Patrick J. Cannon, burglary, 1962.

PEORIA AND SANGAMON COUNTIES

Michael Williams, forgery and burglary, 1994 and 1995.

SANGAMON COUNTY

Richard William Thomas, forgery, 1973.

John F. Wyatt IV, theft, 1986.

Gary Louis Osborne, burglary, 1990.

TAZEWELL COUNTY

James Schweigert, criminal sexual abuse, 1995.

WARREN COUNTY

Michael O'Reilly, burglary, 1977.

WINNEBAGO COUNTY

William Robert Mears, theft, 1992.

Adriana Colindres can be reached at 782-6292.