Oscar Walden Jr. has sued Chicago for $15 million, claiming police officers physically abused him and forced a confession for a rape. He was granted a general pardon in 1978, but other governors subsequently denied his requests for an innocence pardon, which was eventually granted by Ryan, in 2002. When questioned, under oath, regarding the kinds of pardon he granted this happened:
Ryan’s answer: “I don’t know if there is or not. I learned, though, that Thompson gave a pardon based on whatever — just a general pardon. I didn’t realize that probably until just recently. Then, I gave a pardon based on innocence. Maybe at the time I didn’t understand that. I don’t know.”Ryan only granted 212 pardons as governor, and the Times reports that 28 of them were innocence pardons. See full story here.
Kamionski: “OK. And is that your understanding that both a general pardon and an innocence pardon, they both are given to people who are, in fact, innocent of the crimes that they committed?”
Ryan: “Yeah, I don’t know why else we’d give a pardon if you, as the pardoning agent, didn’t believe that that was the case. I don’t know why you’d give a pardon.”
Kamionski: “And when — and that the only thing that you were doing different with an innocence pardon was giving somebody almost like a right-to-sue letter?”
Ryan: “Well, I didn’t understand that at the time. I think — I thought — it maybe spelled it out more clearly that this was an innocent person that was wrongfully convicted and charged and imprisoned and to make it clear for the record that he was innocent.”