Posts in Clemency
Illinois Gives Ex-Offenders a Helping Hand By Expanding Criminal Sealing Rules

Effective immediately, HB 2373 is the largest single expansion of the sealing rules ever taken in Illinois or - for that matter - anywhere in the United States. For the first time, individuals who have been convicted of felonies such as burglary, robbery, or aggravated battery, can seek to seal their convictions. The new law also expands what drug offenses can be sealed.

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Is Illinois Poised to Expand the Number of Sealable Felony Crimes?

The last time Illinois expanded its list of sealable felony crimes was in 2014.  That law only added a handful of felony offenses to the list. That may all change if Governor Bruce Rauner signs House Bill (HB) 2373 into law. He has until August 26, 2017, to act. HB 2373 is set to cause the largest expansion of the state’s sealing rules. For the first time felony crimes of violence will be sealable (e.g., aggravated battery, murder). In addition, all felony drug offenses (regardless of its class), residential burglary, and burglary will be sealable. If signed by Gov. Rauner, HB 2373 goes into effect January 1, 2018.

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Few Get Clemency in IL: HB 2373 to Rescue?

The authority to pardon (grant clemency) someone for a crime under state law belongs to the governor. In most states, a pardon restores rights taken away after following a criminal conviction - usually for a felony (e.g., right to vote, hold public office, own a gun). In Illinois, we are fortunate in that the right to vote is automatically reinstated after one is released from prison (no prison sentence, voting rights are never suspended). A pardon is an act of forgiveness, public recognition that someone is fully rehabilitated.

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