Obtaining an answer to your petition for executive clemency could take as little as a few months, but usually it takes much longer.

The Illinois Prisoner Review Board accepts petitions for executive clemency at all times, but the wait for a decision can be lengthy.  An attorney can prepare and file your petition for clemency in a matter of weeks, particularly if there is ample evidence that you have reformed.

Once the pardon is filed, several more things need to happen.  The pardon board will schedule a hearing, if one is requested.  As a general rule, you should agree to appear at a hearing, so that you may present your case in its most favorable light. This is not essential, but it is very helpful.

Next, the members of your panel will need to agree that you have a meritorious case.  If they do vote yes, that recommendation is sent to the governor. 

Once the governor and his staff have received the pardon, it will be added to a list of pending pardons and reviewed. Even if the governor reaches a decision in a relatively short time, it is unlikely that a decision on your pardon would be issued until at least a year has passed from the time of filing.  The governor has no deadline for replying, and no reason for a refusal is given.

If the pardon is granted, you may need to petition to expunge your criminal record in the courthouse where your case took place.  If the pardon is denied, you must wait one year from the date of denial to try again.

If you have questions about obtaining a pardon or executive clemency, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

 (Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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