Friday, April 11, 2008

Illinois: Guilty. No, Innocent! Denied. No, Wait Some More!

Gordan Steidl was sentenced to death in 1987 for murder of Karen and Dyke Rhoads, but fought to prove his innocence. He was granted a new sentencing hearing in 1999 and had his conviction overturned in 2003. After consideration of DNA and other evidence, he was freed in 2004. Since winning his freedom, Steidl has applied for a pardon from Gov. Rod Blogojevich (D). But, on February 14, 2008, a letter arrived saying the request for clemency had been denied. Steidl has since learned the denial letter was mailed as a result of a "clerical error." The Governor has not actuality acted on the request. The incident is just the latest in an increasingly bizarre year for the pardon power in the State of Illinois. First, there was the breaking news of the Chandra Gill pardon. Then there was a fascinating federal court ruling which rebuked the State's failure to process clemency applications and asserted that clemency applicants had a "right" to timely consideration of their requests by the Governor. Meanwhile, PardonPower wonders why the Governor allows Alton Logan to remain in prison. See full story on the Steidl blunder here.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Steidl nor Whitlock have been found innocent. They both have been granted the right to have new trials and were released because they cannot be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.....yet. This case is actually an ongoing criminal investigation which cannot be commented on at this point. To grant these two a pardon at this point would only serve to make sure they can never be held accountable for a crime which they may have taken a part in. Any other way of looking at this is biased and probably connected to the large money both are attempting to win through a lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

The special prosecutor has said the original witnesses against Steidl have no credibility left. He has also said there is no new evidence that Steidl is guilty. That makes Steidl as innocent as you or I. Do you really think the State of Illinois would have let him walk around as a free man for the past 4 years if they thought he was a vicious murderer? And speaking of the civil suit -- maybe the governor doesn't want to pardon him because it might hurt the State in the civil suit.

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