CHICAGO (CBS) – He’s been punished enough. That’s what former Governor Jim Thompson is saying about his longtime friend, imprisoned ex-Governor George Ryan.
Thompson and Ryan’s wife, Lura Lynn Ryan, attended a court hearing Monday where Ryan’s defense attorneys asked Federal Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer to release Ryan pending an appeal of his case.
They argued that since the honest services clause was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, some of Ryan’s convictions may be questionable. His attorney also argued Ryan’s wife is dying.
CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports it was an emotional hearing with both sides presenting clearly defined positions on the issue.
Lura Lynn Ryan told reporters, “I’m just anxious to get George home so he could spend a few more years with me. What time I have left.”
It’s Mrs. Ryan’s wish and possibly last hope.
Thompson said the Ryans have lost everything. The only thing they have left is family and friends, adding, “I think as a matter of humanity, that sentence is long enough.”
Thompson and all of George Ryan’s attorneys thanked the judge for her time on their way out of court.
In front of the bench, defense attorney Albert Alschuler argued that many of Ryan’s fraud convictions wouldn’t stand now that the Supreme Court has overturned honest services as a basis for a conviction.
Defense attorney Andrea Lyon then told the judge Lura Lynn Ryan had six months to a year to live and she should at least consider letting Ryan out on bond.
“He’s not going anywhere but to Kankakee, your honor, “ Lyon said. “What he can’t get back is a year with her.”
But prosecutor Laurie Barsella says Ryan sold his office while Secretary of State, adding, “It’s unfortunate but when you go to jail, you will be separated from your family. It’s distressing. But there are many inmates in that position.”
Barsella went on to argue, “This does affect the confidence of the citizens that the government plays by the rules.”
Lyon says she knows the judge is wrestling with all aspects of the decision. Judge Pallmeyer told the court sentencing is the hardest, most painful responsibility of being a federal judge and said she would rule on the matter as quickly as she could.