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People v. Glisson





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JOSEPH A. POWER, Judge, presiding.


On September 25, 1942, John Glisson (petitioner) was arrested for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, convicted and sentenced to 30 days in the Cook County Jail. He was subsequently arrested for purposes of investigation and then released without charge on the following dates:

(1) July 16, 1950 (2) October 9, 1951 (3) April 7, 1954 (4) November 8, 1956 (5) September 19, 1957 (6) March 19, 1958 (7) March 23, 1958

He was photographed and his fingerprints were taken by the police on each of these dates. He was not convicted of any offense after the 1942 conviction.

On December 20, 1974, the Governor of Illinois granted petitioner a pardon for the 1942 conviction (Ill. Const. 1970, art. V, § 12). The certificate of pardon stated that petitioner was pardoned for:

"CONTRIBUTING to Delinquency of a Minor, * * * of which he stands convicted and he is hereby acquitted and discharged of and from all further imprisonment and restored to all his rights of Citizenship which may have been forfeited by his conviction."

On February 19, 1975, by several verified motions, petitioner requested the circuit court to expunge all arrest records resulting from the original arrest and from his seven subsequent arrests. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 206-5.) The trial court granted the relief prayed in each case regarding the original conviction and all of the arrests which followed. The State has appealed and the several appeals have been consolidated for hearing.

The pertinent portion of the statute regarding expunging of criminal records reads as follows (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 206-5):

"All photographs, finger prints [sic] or other records of identification so taken shall, upon the acquittal of a person charged with the crime, or, upon his being released without being convicted, be returned to him. Whenever a person not having previously been convicted of any criminal offense or municipal ordinance violation, charged with a violation of a municipal ordinance or a felony or misdemeanor, is acquitted or released without being convicted, the Chief Judge of the circuit wherein the charge was brought, or any judge of that circuit designated by the Chief Judge, may upon verified petition of the defendant order the record of arrest expunged from the official records of the arresting authority."

Each of the orders appealed from, having reference to the original conviction and to all subsequent arrests, provided for expungement of "all of the arrest records" and also for return to petitioner of "all photographs, fingerprints and all other records of identification taken as a result of his being taken into custody" on each of the dates involved.

Examination of the cited statute shows that it consists of two separate sentences. The first pertains to "photographs, finger prints [sic] or other records of identification" and the second provides for expungement of "the record of arrest." It seems clear to us that the first sentence applies to every person who has been arrested and photographed or fingerprinted and then released "without being convicted." In our opinion, this portion of the statute requires return to petitioner of all of the photographs, fingerprints or other records of identification taken on each of the various arrests above detailed commencing July 16, 1950. Consequently, each of the orders before us is affirmed in that regard. We will consider the order pertaining to records of identification in connection with the original arrest on September 25, 1942, and each and all of the orders as they pertain to records of arrest.

In other words, with regard to expunging the records of petitioner's initial arrest and returning to him the various records of identification concerning this arrest, we have the question as to whether as a result of the pardon he can be considered to have been "released without being convicted." Similarly, as regards expungement of the records of the seven later arrests, the issue before us is whether petitioner can be treated as "not having previously been convicted of any criminal offense." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 206-5.) What is the legal effect of the gubernatorial pardon as applied to these two portions of this statute?

In the briefs before us, the State contends that the general purpose of "An Act in relation to criminal identification and investigation," of which the cited statute is a portion, renders the expungement provision of the Act inapplicable to a pardoned convicted offender's arrest records because such provision is clearly addressed to a class of persons to which pardoned convicted offenders do not belong and, also, that the pardon did not blot out the fact of conviction and was not tantamount to an acquittal since a pardon in itself implies guilt. In response, petitioner in his brief discusses the effect of a pardon and takes the position that the situation of a pardoned offender falls within the statutory language of a person "not having previously been convicted" so that petitioner was eligible to have his arrest records expunged.

There are a number of cases in Illinois dealing with the legal effect of a gubernatorial pardon. For example, in People v. Rongetti (1947), 395 Ill. 580, 70 N.E.2d 568, the supreme court considered the effect of a pardon upon the right of a person to engage in a profession which had been forfeited by a prior conviction. The court concluded that the pardon did not prevent forfeiture of the right to obtain a license to practice medicine. In People ex rel. Symonds v. Gualano (1970), 124 Ill. App.2d 208, 260 N.E.2d 284, this court held that a governmental certificate which restored to the defendant all rights of citizenship removed his ineligibility to hold public office which resulted from the Illinois Constitution of 1870, art. IV, § 4. However, neither of these cases, nor ...

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