When Jerry Miller goes to vote in Chicago on Tuesday – the first time in his life he will be able to vote, having been exonerated just last year – he will do so as a fully cleared man.
Miller, who served nearly 25 years in prison before DNA proved his innocence, is one of four exonerees recently pardoned by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. The pardons allow their criminal records to be expunged and pave the way for compensation.
Among those pardoned based on innocence were Marlon Pendleton and Jerry Miller, who were falsely convicted of sexual assault charges before DNA evidence exonerated them. Also pardoned was Luis Ortiz, convicted of a torture-murder in 1997 and exonerated in 2002, and Robert Wilson, pardoned after nearly a decade in prison for an attempted murder after he was falsely identified.
Read the full Chicago Tribune article here
Blagojevich had been heavily criticized by local press for delaying the pardon process
. Pendelton was exonerated on Dec. 8, 2006 and immediately applied for a pardon, but faced a backlog of 16,000 other pardon applicants.
Since Pendelton’s original request, Illinois lawmakers passed legislation that allows exonerated individuals to seek certificates of innocence and immediate compensation as soon as courts find them innocent. The law had been vetoed by Blagojevich last September, but was overridden by the Illinois House and Senate to become state law.