Showing posts with label georgeryan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label georgeryan. Show all posts

Thursday, January 6, 2011

George Ryan wants to leave prison to visit critically ill wife

George RyanGeorge Ryan, the convicted felon that once served as Illinois' Governor wants to be released from prison to visit his gravely ill wife, perhaps for the very last time. A debate rages about whether or not Ryan should be allowed to leave the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, IN to travel to his home town of Kankakee to be by Lura Lynn's bed side.
There is no doubt Ryan is devoted to his wife of fifty years. He loves her and would like nothing more than to share her final moments with her.

While George Ryan's reality includes compassion for his wife, that compassion never spilled over onto the public for which he took an oath to serve. Instead, he governed with arrogance and ego.

Ryan's trying to get out of jail now is just one more in a long line of attempts to gain his freedom. When he was convicted of wrongdoing, another ex-governor—James Thompson—Ryan's pro-bono lawyer tried every available legal maneuver to keep Ryan from serving the 6 1/2 year sentence imposed upon him. Just a few weeks ago, Thompson tried to get Ryan released from prison to be with his wife. The judge ruled against it.

Ryan's initial sentence was based on a mere sampling of his deeds during his career as a public official. There is no way that all of Ryan's questionable actions could be presented in a court of law during his trial.

I know George Ryan. I recall once asking him a question, in my role as a news reporter for Ryan's home town paper. For a brief instant, he looked at me. I saw a cold, look of contempt in his eyes before he turned and walked away, dismissing me without acknowledging my presence. He didn't have to answer me. He was the governor. I was nothing more than a nuisance to him.

I've seen Ryan make decisions that hurt people. Ryan was the first to authorize the state tobuy land for a new airport near Peotone, one that even after 25 years, is not approved by the Federal Aviation Administration and for which no regional consensus has or will ever be reached.

But to move the project forward, Ryan made a deal with a friend of his whereby the state department of transportation would buy the unsold lots in his high-priced subdivision, even though the property wouldn't be used for the project. The act of buying the first ground 'for the airport' even though it was later intended to be sold as unnecessary to the project, was enough to scare people into selling their land to the state. The airport wasn't needed, yet Ryan didn't flinch when people pleaded with him to end the airport nightmare that had been discussed since the 1960's. Some of those people suffered health issues not unlike those of Ryan's own wife. Yet, he didn't care about their plight. So many good people died trying to fight the scourge that he perpetuated. There was nothing they could do to protect the land that in some cases had been in their families for generations, because the big, bad, governor wanted to take it from them.

When George Ryan's actions were indirectly responsible for the death of the six Willis children, Ryan showed no remorse. Even if that accident wasn't Ryan's fault directly, it did shine a light on how Ryan ran the Secretary of State's office.

For me, direct blame isn't the issue. Ryan's attitude is the issue. He didn't care that two people had to bury their six children.

I'm genuinely sorry that Lura Lynn Ryan is so ill. Who knows if she is conscious, or if she would even know if her husband was by her bedside? In her near-death state, her mind will likely cause her believe he is with her. He doesn't need to be physically there.

George Ryan needs to pay the price—the complete price for his deeds. And that includes another three years in prison. He does not deserve special privilege.

Post script

Ryan did spent about two hours with his ailing wife, according to reports. The decision to allow him to be released from prison for that period was customarily assigned to the prison warden, and is not an uncommon occurrence.
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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

George Ryan's ups and downs for freedom

The road to justice has been a long and winding one – both for convicted Ex-Governor George Ryan and the people of Illinois whom he defrauded.

A serious blow came to Ryan when President George W. Bush exited the White House without granting clemency for Ryan, the man who chaired Bush's Illinois campaign for President in 2000. This was despite a plea to the Ex-President from Ryan's wife Lura Lynn. Even Illinois' senior senator, Dick Durbin and an-other beleaguered Ex-Governor, Rod Blagojevich, asked for Ryan's release from prison, sug-gesting that his sentence be satis-fied by time served.

Ryan has served one year of his six- and one-half-year sen-tence after being convicted for a litany of corruption charges.

But, expect a new string of support letters to once again head toward 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. on Ryan's behalf. Jim Thompson, another Ex-Governor who is also the high-powered attorney who fought to keep Ryan out of jail for as long as possible, says he will ask Presi-dent Barack Obama for clem-ency for his client.

Thompson told WBEZ radio recently that President Obama has known Ryan since the two worked together in Springfield for a time. Thompson is prepar-ing a new application using the argument that Ryan's continued imprisonment doesn't appear to have deterred other politicians from corrupt activities.

RYAN'S PENSION

In conjunction with Ryan's 2006 conviction, he was stripped of his pension. It amounted to about $197,000 annually.

But the appellate court over-turned the circuit court, ruling earlier this month stating that Ryan could retain the pension he earned from public service prior to his terms as Secretary of State and Governor.

Ryan had also served in the state legislature and as lieutenant governor. According to the high court, he is entitled to keep about $65,000 annually.

But Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who was the first to argue that Ryan should not receive any of his pension, plans to appeal the decision.

At the time of his conviction, she issued a detailed opinion that the convicted felon should be stripped of his pension benefits.

Cook County Circuit Judge Martin Agran agreed with her. He upheld the unanimous ruling of the General Assembly Re-tirement System board that voted to deny Ryan his annual pension.

Madigan said at the time that Ryan forfeited all of his pension benefits, not merely those that accrued during the eight years that he served as Governor and Secretary of State. She also re-quested that he receive a timely and full refund of the contribu-tions he made to the system.

NOBEL PRIZE NOMINEE

There is at least one advocate of Ryan's deeds who has been consistent in his support. Uni-versity of Illinois law professor Francis Boyle, who has long ad-vocated abolishing the death penalty, has placed Ryan's name in nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize for the seventh time.

Boyle says his continuing nomination encourages aware-ness of the issue of capital pun-ishment. Boyle said 37 execu-tions occurred in 2008, a down-ward trend that began with Ryan's death penalty morato-rium.

Ryan did away with Illinois' death row in 2003 before leaving office.
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Monday, December 1, 2008

George Ryan sentence should stand

What are U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Gov. Rod Blagojevich thinking? Are they really considering asking President George W. Bush to commute the sentence of former Illinois Governor George Ryan?

Ryan was indicted in federal court on Dec. 17, 2003. The charges alleged that he accepted free vacations and other perks while doling out state contracts to lobbyist friends. Ryan was convicted on all counts against him April 17, 2006. On Sept. 6, he was sentenced to 6 ½ years in prison for racketeering, conspir-acy and fraud. Ryan reported to a Wisconsin prison Nov. 7, 2007. In February of this year, he was transferred to his present location -- the penitentiary in Terre Heute, Indiana.

George Ryan is not just an eld-erly man who spends idle time contemplating how he ended up behind bars, or how he could have done things differently. He is not just a loving grandpa and devoted husband, father, and brother, although he may very well be all those things.

It is what else there is about George Ryan that has put him in prison and should keep him there. He grabbed power from his position of authority and held the fate of people’s lives in his hands. He treated the responsi-bility that accompanies that power with little or no respect. I can attest that if you disagreed with George Ryan, you were treated with the utmost disdain. While he was good to his own circle of friends and those who could provide perks to him, he did not offer the same courtesy to everyone else.

George Ryan is a convicted felon, whose jail time is the re-sult of the justice system finally doing its job, despite climbing deliberately through every loop-hole available to circumvent it.

It mustn’t be forgotten that Ryan and his pro-bono legal team, led by one of the former governor boys’ club members, tried every angle to work the system in Ryan’s favor to keep him out of jail. This was despite George Ryan being the cause of pain, suffering, and even death in his routine dealings as Secre-tary of State and later as Gover-nor of the State of Illinois.

George Ryan treated Illinois as his own personal fiefdom and he has no regrets or remorse for his actions.

It seemed to take forever for Ryan to actually be sent to prison – many months after he was convicted and sentenced. To let him out of jail after serving such a short portion of his 6 ½ year sentence would, in my opin-ion, be a slap in the face of every Illinois resident. Similar senti-ments have been echoed by nu-merous newspaper editorials, surveys, commentaries and blogs. My voice is just one more in the mix.

Bush has granted 171 pardons and commuted the sentence of eight people during his eight years as president. The latest round came last month when Bush issued 14 pardons. Ryan’s name was not among them, nor should it be.
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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

High court rejects Ryan appeal, Bush pardon seen as last option

The curtain is about to fall on chances for freedom for ex-Governor George Ryan.

Short of a Presidential pardon, Ryan will remain in prison to serve his 6 1/2 year sentence for corruption. And that is just what is being considered by Ryan’s high-powered legal team led by ex-Gov. James Thompson.

Thompson is planning to ask President George W. Bush to commute Ryan’s sentence. This comes after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Ryan’s appeal and that of Ryan’s co-convicted ex-business partner Lawrence Warner.

The pair was convicted April 17, 2006, of multiple counts of racketeering, conspiracy, mail fraud, obstruction of justice, money laundering, and tax violation while Ryan served as Secretary of State.

Ryan is expected to be released from prison in 2013, but with a Bush pardon, his release could be right around the corner.

Speculation is high about whether or not Bush would consider granting a pardon to the disgraced ex-governor. Some claim that Republican ties are strong enough to encourage such an act, yet others believe there is little parity between Bush and Ryan politics. The most stark example of that is Ryan’s moratorium on the death penalty, something that Bush clearly favors.

Ryan himself might be overlooked for a Bush pardon, but it could come as a favor to longtime Republican fundraiser Thompson.

Once requested, Bush will have until his last day in office, January 19, to make a decision as many other former presidents have done.

Thompson has taken the legal proceedings as far as he could, maintaining that because of some irregularities with the jury in the six-month trial for Ryan and his pal two years ago, the two did not receive a fair trial. Thompson’s opinion was bolstered by the sole dissent in the Court of Appeals and a minority opinion by Circuit Judges who ultimately refused to rehear Ryan’s case. But that argument failed to convince a federal appeals court to grant a new trial. And, it failed to sway the nation’s high court.

Last November U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens refused to allow Ryan to stay out of jail while his case was being appealed to the high court.

In April, U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement filed a brief stating that the U.S. Supreme Court should refuse to hear the appeal of convicted ex-Governor George Ryan.

The U.S. Solicitor General argues for the Government of the United States in front of the U.S. Supreme Court when the government is involved in a case.

Clement said complaints about jurors were misguided and a hearing was not warranted.

Ryan reported to prison in November 2007 to serve a six and one-half year sentence. He was initially sent to Oxford Institution, in Wisconsin, but was recently moved to Terre Haute Federal Institution in Terre Haute, Indiana. Under new regulations, of which Ryan was unaware at the time of his sentencing, Oxford could no longer care for inmates over 70 years of age. Ryan is 74.
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Friday, November 9, 2007

Ex-Gov. Ryan begins prison sentence

Justice is finally served as ex-Gov. George Ryan begins his six and one-half year prison sentence.

As of this writing, Ryan is enroute to Oxford, Wisconsin to begin paying his debt to society. He blatantly violated the public trust and abused Illinois’ highest office, treating it as if it was his own personal fiefdom.

He was accused of steering big government contracts to his friends and family, accepting payoffs, gifts, and lavish vacations.

On his way to the federal prison camp, Ryan was accompanied by another ex governor – Gov. James R. Thompson – whose high profile lawfirm, Winston & Strawn, represented Ryan free of charge.

In recent months, Ryan’s freedom resembled an hourglass. The sand, which was seemingly endless finally ran out Tuesday. It was then that U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens refused to extend Ryan’s bail, ensuring his immediate future. He had already been ordered to report to Oxford before 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7.

Before he left his Kankakee home Wednesday morning, Ryan spoke to reporters. He proclaimed his innocence, vowing to continue to fight to prove it. He said he would report to prison with a “clear conscience.”

But despite his resolve, even appeals court Justice Michael Kanne, who disagreed with the majority judges, favoring a retrial for Ryan and co-defendant Larry Warner, wrote that the evidence against the two was overwhelming.

Experts say there is an off chance that the U.S. Supreme Court justices will agree to hear Ryan’s case. There is also a slim possibility that Thompson can ask to President George W. Bush for a pardon.

It was exactly 13 years ago Thursday that five children belonging to Scott and Janet Willis died in a fiery car crash. A sixth child later died as a result of the crash, which occurred when a chunk fell off a truck driven by a driver who obtained his driver’s license illegally. Thus began an investigation into the workings of the Secretary of State’s office. Not only did the Willis accident happen on Ryan’s watch, while he was Secretary of State, but instead of investigating the accident, Ryan’s pals tried to cover it up.

Ryan never took responsibility, apologized, or offered any explanation to the Willis family.

After Ryan was indicted, Willis called him arrogant. After Ryan was convicted in April 2006, Willis said “he arrogance continued.” Ryan must serve 85 percent of his sentence, even with good behavior.
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