Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ryan should stay in jail

English: Former Illinois Governor George Ryan
Ex- Illinois Governor George Ryan 
Ex-Illinois Governor George Ryan could be released from prison after serving only half of his 6 1/2 year sentence.

From my own personal association with George Ryan:  if anyone deserves to be in prison, George Ryan does.

His actions as Illinois Secretary of State resulted in the death of the six innocent children of  Scott and Janis Willis fifteen years ago. The children died in a fiery car crash that involved a truck driver who obtained his drivers license illegally. The investigation was covered up by Ryan's pals. Ryan took no responsibility and offered no apology. Willis called him arrogant. I agree.

After months of legal wrangling Ryan was finally carted off to prison, but not before his legal team tried every trick in the book to keep him out of prison. They sited his poor health and his wife's health. They even got him to remain free during months of appeals. All that time Ryan had one more gubernatorial perk, a 'get out of jail free card,' courtesy of his cost-free lawyer—another Illinois governor—Big Jim Thompson. 

Ryan was convicted after a seven month trial. He lost his pension even though Thompson fought hard for him to keep it. Justice was finally served. The only burden the taxpayers pay now, are George Ryan's food, clothing, and shelter. That is more than he did for many, despite taking an oath to serve the public.

Thompson will get one more chance to free his client, even if it is at the expense of the public.

In the latest turn of events, the U.S. Supreme Court revised the scope of the controversial 'honest services' law, one which has been criticized as being too vague. It has been revered by prosecutors but condemned by defense lawyers.

Earlier this week, Ryan's lawyers argued before U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer that Ryan should be released from federal prison. They claim he may not have been convicted by a jury under the newly revised standards in the 'honest services' law related to mail fraud. Mail fraud was one of the charges against Ryan.

So marks another attempt by Ryan's lawyers, to spring Ryan from jail. The legal team has left no stone unturned in their attempt to keep the 39th Illinois Governor who is one of six to be convicted of corruption since the 1920's, out of prison where he headed in November 2007. Indiana. His own health has been cited, as well as that of his wife, Lura Lynn, as reasons for him to be released from prison. Attorneys have tried to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to hear it. This time, that could happen. While Justice Pallmeyer promises to rule quickly, she told the Chicago Tribune that the case would likely be appealed. 

Ryan was convicted Ryan April 17, 2006 for multiple violations of federal law, including racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud, obstruction of justice, money laundering, and tax violations. He now resides in a federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.

The charges against him were a mere sampling of Ryan's long tenure in public office. It is too bad the prosecution could not have delved even further, uncovering all Ryan's wrongdoing in the local, and state offices where he has served, including the Legislature, Secretary of State, and Governor. But that wasn't possible. For that reason, it would be unconscionable for Ryan to go free based on this change.
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