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Gov. Spokesman: Steidl Pardon Request Still Under Review

Randy Steidl

Randy Steidl, whose conviction for a 1986 double-murder was overturned in 2004. (Center On Wrongful Convictions)

Attorneys for Randy Steidl say they’re at a loss as to why Governor Pat Quinn has yet to act his request for a pardon - one that was issued during George Ryan’s administration. 

Steidl’s 2002 petition is the oldest waiting executive action by Quinn.  And the latest effort to clear his name came last week in the form of a letter from the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern Law School.  

The 3-page letter cites numerous reviews by appellate judges and print editorials citing flawed evidence and misconduct by authorities. 

Steidl spent 17 years in prison, 12 of them on death row, for the murder of newlyweds Dyke and Karen Rhoads in Paris, Illinois in 1986.

Steidl's convicion was overturned, and he was set free in 2004 when Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced she wouldn’t pursue an appeal.

The letter requests a face to face meeting with Quinn, asking him why he’s ruled on so many other petitions – including 65 clemency requests last week. 

Steidl said the past is hurting him and his family.

“I basically don’t know what I could add other than meeting him face to face, and letting him know that the Steidl name deserves to have an innocence-based pardon," he said.  "I have grandchildren now that have to go to school - and college - and they deserve to have the Steidl name cleared of this tragedy.”

Quinn spokesman Dave Blanchette says the governor has acted on more than 2,600 clemency petitions since taking office - but wouldn’t get into specifics over Steidl’s case. 

Blanchette doesn’t believe Steidl should receive special treatment since he’s seeking a pardon of innocence, but consider the request as part of an 'overarching clemency consideration.'  Blanchette says the request for a face-to-face meeting with Quinn is unusual, 'but not unheard of.'

Attorney Karen Daniel says with all the clemency requests that Quinn has ruled on –the governor has yet to act on a case like Steidl’s.

To me, it’s just unconscionable to take someone like Randy, take him out of his life, put him on death row - put him through that hell for a dozen years - and then five more years in prison after that," he said.  "And then just to say ‘okay, go home and forget about it.”

Steidl now lives in Charleston, Illinois  and works for Witness to Innocence, a group working to abolishing the death penalty.  He said for the families of murder victims, there is no closure after execution, saying it adds more pain to their suffering. 

Categories: Criminal Justice, Law