Dressed in a somber suit, Bogdan Mazur stood before the Illinois Prisoner Review Board this week and begged the panel not to tear his family apart.
Portraying himself as an adoring father, the 53-year-old Oswego man was mostly met with befuddled looks from the four-member panel.
In 2007, Mazur arranged for cocaine, marijuana and a .22-caliber handgun to be planted in the trunk of his estranged wife’s car — in a failed attempt to get her deported to her native Poland. Seven years later, Mazur finds himself facing a similar fate — deportation — if he can’t persuade Gov. Pat Quinn to show mercy.
In a 15-page letter to the governor, Mazur says he is petrified at the thought of being separated from the two children he shares with the mother he once framed.
“I will not raise a toast at neither of their weddings,” Mazur wrote. “I will never see my grandchildren being born. I will never baby-sit my grandchildren either. I will never meet my children’s in-laws, share a Christmas wafer during the Christmas Eve supper. These thoughts paralyze me. They terrify me to death.”
During Tuesday’s clemency hearing, Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Frank Marek noted the obvious — it’s “ironic,” he said, that a man who tried to have his wife deported is now in the same boat. Marek’s office opposes Mazur’s clemency.
In early 2007, Mazur faced a “moral dilemma,” he says, when his wife wanted out of their marriage and full custody of their two children.
Mazur conspired to plant drugs and a gun in Sylwia Marcinczyk’s car, hoping to get his children and control of the family’s health care business, prosecutors alleged. On April 1 of that year, Mazur called a Chicago Police officer and told him where to find the drugs. Marcinczyk was arrested — and spent two weeks in jail. She was later acquitted of all charges.
Investigators then took another look at the case, charging Mazur with four felonies, including delivering drugs. Prosecutors also charged the officer who’d arrested Marcinczyk, alleging he’d been part of the plan to frame her. In late 2010, Mazur pleaded guilty to filing a false police report, agreeing to testify against the police officer in exchange for a year in jail. The officer, Slawomir Plewa, was found not guilty at trial. Marcinczyk later received a $375,000 payout from the city in connection with the case.
Now, Mazur faces deportation. He’s a citizen of both Australia and Poland, a felon living in the United States on a long-expired visa.
On Tuesday, the prisoner review board — which makes recommendations for clemency to the governor — appeared troubled by Mazur’s case.
“You’re not taking ownership — I really do struggle with that,” said board member Vonetta Harris.
While begging for mercy, Mazur continued to blame his ex-wife, in part, for the unraveling of his American dream.
Mazur’s letter to Quinn stresses how he loved family time, especially vacations. His ex-wife, on the other hand, hated them, he said.
She doesn’t, apparently, hate Mazur.
In her letter of support on Mazur’s behalf, she wrote to Quinn: “America is a land of second chances — everybody who lives in this country believes that. We grant mercy and forgiveness to the worst criminals, sexual offenders, liars, not to mention all the convicted politicians who claim they should be given a chance at [a] do over.”
The review board, which considers 800 to 900 petitions annually, doesn’t make public its decisions, and the governor has no deadline to respond to clemency pleas.
Gail Montenegro, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said the agency last year granted Mazur a one-year stay to allow him to pursue his claim.
“After this stay of removal expires, ICE will review Mr. Mazur’s case to determine what further action is required,” Montenegro said.