10 Questions for Dick Durbin

UPDATE DEC. 2: Some of these questions have now been asked and – sort of – answered. Let’s take a look (from various news sources).


Well, Durbin did it.

1. Why not just wait for Barack Obama to become president and ask for him to commute George Ryan’s sentence? You certainly have more influence with Obama than George W. Bush. And Obama certainly is more familiar with Ryan’s case.

“Durbin said he did not ‘think it would be appropriate’ to wait to ask President-elect and fellow Illinois Democrat Barack Obama to issue a commutation when he takes office since clemency actions normally come during the final days of an outgoing presidency.

Define “appropriate.” And, actually, presidents act on pardons and clemency requests throughout their terms; there is usually a flurry at the end of a term because it’s the last chance they get to exercise their power. And wouldn’t it be more appropriate if the new president from Illinois acted on this case? And will someone ask where Obama stands on this?

2. You were just re-elected to another six-year term a month ago. Why didn’t you announce your intentions in this case before voters went to the polls?

3. What other cases of Illinoisians did you review, and who else did you write a letter for to President Bush?

A) “When pressed, though, Durbin said he couldn’t remember ever seeking clemency on behalf of anybody else.

B) “Durbin’s office said he sought clemency from a president at least once previously, in 2004, in a case involving the court-martial of six Ohio National Guard members.”

So he’s never come across a miscarriage of justice – other than that of George Ryan – that resulted in him seeking a pardon, clemency or commutation for an Illinoisan?

4. If Rod Blagojevich is similarly convicted of public corruption, should he too get a break from the president?

5. Should Larry Warner also have his sentence commuted?

6. Who hired Angelo Torres?

7. Would you support a pardon for Scooter Libby?

8. Does it bother you that George Ryan only apologized in his private petition to the president but not in public, even as Lura Lynn says that George would govern exactly the same way and was only trying to help people?

Durbin has sort of answered this by saying that George Ryan should apologize to the Willis family after/if he is released from prison.

9. What lesson do you think George Ryan has learned?

10. When does the Combine hold its meetings?


One response to “10 Questions for Dick Durbin

  1. Excellent questions, Steve!
    But, your best question is your first, why not wait until January and let a Democratic President grant this pardon? Why doesn’t Durbin want his own party to get the bad press for freeing George Ryan?
    For justice to be served, Ryan should stay in prison for 20 or 30 years. That can’t happen, so the second best way to serve justice is to let Ryan serve out his term.

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