Rauner grants 30 clemency requests before leaving office

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Gov. Bruce Rauner looks back on his term during a press conference in his office at the Capitol with Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019 in Springfield, Ill. (Rich Saal/The State Journal-Register via AP)

Gov. Bruce Rauner granted 30 clemency requests and four commutations on Friday, his final full business day in office.

Two of the commutations were for murder cases, but even with the shorter sentences, both men still face decades behind bars.

The outgoing Republican governor denied 268 clemency requests, leaving no pending petitions on the docket for Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker after the Democrat is sworn in as governor on Monday.

Thirteen of the 30 clemency requests were granted to Cook County inmates, mostly for people convicted on drug, burglary, theft or fraud charges.

Rauner also commuted the life sentence of Oscar Parham to 70 years. Parham was convicted in a 1988 double-murder that happened during a botched drug deal in the laundry room of a Zion apartment building, according to a Chicago Tribune report from the time.

The governor also commuted Jonathan Morgan’s sentence in a 1995 Logan County murder case. He’ll now served his 58- and 17-year sentences for murder and second-degree murder concurrently rather than consecutively.

The other two commutations went to a St. Clair County man convicted of armed robbery in 1991 and a South Side man who robbed a taxi driver at gunpoint in 1983.

Illinois State Police conducted criminal background checks on each person granted clemency, Rauner’s office said.

Those who received pardons can seek to have their convictions expunged, and all but two — a man convicted in a 1981 attempted murder case in Jefferson County, and a North Side man convicted of unlawful use of a weapon in 2014 — can apply for Firearm Owners Identification Cards.

In 2016, Rauner announced that he’d eliminated a backlog of thousands of clemency requests he inherited from previous governors.

RELATED: Rauner pardons 79-year-old man convicted in fatal 1954 car wreck

Rauner’s predecessor former Gov. Pat Quinn inherited nearly 3,000 clemency petitions when ex-Gov. Blagojevich was imprisoned. Quinn acted on more than 4,000, but still left well over 2,000 cases for Rauner the moment he became governor.

Blagojevich’s own clemency petition before President Donald Trump is the disgraced governor’s final hope of shortening his own 14-year corruption sentence.

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