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Former Illinois governor ordered to prison to start serving corruption sentence

[JURIST] Former Illinois Governor George Ryan [defense website, JURIST news archive] was ordered Friday to begin serving a 6 1/2 prison sentence in less than two weeks. US District Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer [official profile] set November 7 as the surrender date for Ryan to report to prison. The order follows the US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals' refusal to review [order, PDF; JURIST report] an August ruling affirming Ryan's conviction. Former Illinois Governor James R. Thompson [law firm profile], the head of Ryan's legal defense team, said Thursday that Ryan will file a motion to remain free while he appeals his case to the US Supreme Court [official website]. Ryan's lawyers are expected to put the matter before Justice John Paul Stevens [official profile, PDF], a Chicago native and the member of the Supreme Court who handles Seventh Circuit matters.

Ryan's trial began in 2005, and in 2006 a jury found him guilty [JURIST report] on multiple counts of corruption and fraud [indictment, PDF] in connection with a bribes-for-licenses scandal that occurred during Ryan's term as Illinois Secretary of State. Ryan made national headlines and won praise in some quarters in January 2003 when just before leaving office he commuted the executions of all Illinois inmates then on death row [CNN file report; Ryan speech]. AP has more. The Chicago Tribune has local coverage.

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