Appeals Court: No Bail For George Ryan

Updated 1/10/11 7:50 p.m.

CHICAGO (STMW) — For now, a two-hour bedside visit with his ailing wife might be all George Ryan gets.

An appeals panel on Monday denied the former governor’s request to be released on bail so he could spend more time with his critically ill wife.

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Ryan had asked the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to free him as he challenges his 2006 corruption conviction.

Lura Lynn Ryan, 76, has been undergoing treatment in critical care at a Kankakee hospital after going into septic shock last week.

But the appellate court said Ryan failed to meet the high legal standard required to free him now.

The court did address the Ryan family urgency, though, saying in its written findings: “We note that appellant’s attorneys have suggested the possibility that he might be released during the days so that he can be with his wife, and remain incarcerated at Kankakee at night. This possibility might be a humane way to address the personal aspect of his motion. As counsel recognize, however, a request for such an arrangement must be presented by the appellant to the Bureau of Prisons, because the Bureau is statutorily vested with the authority to take such action.”

Since Lura Lynn Ryan was hospitalized, George Ryan’s lawyers called on both the judicial and prison systems to show compassion and release Ryan so he could be with his wife, who has terminal lung cancer that has spread to several other organs

In an emergency request filed Wednesday with the Chicago-based federal appeals court, Ryan’s lawyers said Lura Lynn Ryan was undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment, despite having no hope of recovery, in hopes she might remain alive long enough to say goodbye to her husband.

The former governor quietly paid a two-hour visit to his wife’s bedside later that night, accompanied by prison escorts. The visit was approved by the warden of the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., where Ryan is serving a 6 1/2-year term, and was not made public in subsequent days.

On Thursday, Mayor Daley called on Ryan’s temporary release so he could say goodbye to his wife.

But on Friday, prosecutors revealed that Ryan had already paid his wife a two-hour visit. Anything more than that visit would amount to special treatment, prosecutors said.

Ryan’s lawyers did not make public his hospital visit, saying they were bound by prison policy not to disclose it, though prison officials said that wasn’t the case. Ryan’s lawyers blasted prosecutors for making the visit public.

Former Gov. Jim Thompson, a Ryan family friend, said Monday that he has read the appeals court’s opinion and Ryan’s legal team continues to pursue other avenues in an effort to get him out of prison.

Among them, Ryan himself requested a seven-day furlough, or temporary release, from the Bureau of Prisons on Monday. Ryan made that request directly with the prison.

Thompson also talked about the possibility of winning a longer release by relocating Ryan to the Kankakee County Jail.

“It depends on whether the Bureau of Prisons agrees with the court that this would be a humane thing to do,” Thompson said. “They undoubtedly have the authority to do it, as the court pointed out. So we will ask them to do it.”

Thompson said he will also renew a request for clemency with President Obama.

© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

  • Chuck

    I believe justice would be better served with a bit of compassion. I see no harm in letting this man seek some comfort in being with his wife at this time. To allow these two people some time together as she dies, seems more humane than a case of special treatment.

  • RICH


    • Roberta Waker

      He may have been indirectly responsible for the death of the Willis family; but the DRIVER killed them, not George Ryan. If you let a friend drive your car because you had too much to drink or were sick and HE killed someone causing you to go to prison, wouldn’t you want to see your wife, mother, father, or children who are dying? Think about it.

  • Rich is an Idiot

    Let him be with his wife. It is all he will ever have left. Conrad Black got out on the same technicality on the same charge. Ryan is not in prison for murder, get a clue Rich.

  • ballooms

    rich is not a idiot , like he said 6 small children are dead and thay never had a chances to grow up .so why shoud we give the man a chances to be with his wife . dont dew the crime if you cant dew the time

    • Roberta Waker

      What about all the uninsured ILLEGAL drivers in Illinois that kill and maim people, who are still driving without licenses or insurance? Does that mean Gov. Quinn or Jesse White are responsible? People need to accept responsibility for their own actions and the laws need to be stronger to get these dangerous people off the roads. Lura Lynn did NOT commit a crime and she deserves the right to have her husband at her bedside as she is dying. AND, she is NOT a sea hag; where is YOUR compassion???

  • JessDeCristo


  • Mr Voter

    oh come on now …thisploy been playing outfor three years the old sea hag is croaking every day…this corrupt felon should have thought of this as he stuffed his pockets and tryed to derail the investagation. let this buffoon stay in jail the whole sentence. he sneaked out once to see her, who paid for it thought he was broke other inmates must pay. he should have asked to stop and put flowers on the willis kids grave…the felon!

    • Roberta Waker

      Talk about money. Wonder how many millions of dollars Lura Lynn’s estate will get for violating her rights? Or, how many millions George Ryan will get for the inhumane treatment and violation of his rights? Millions have been awarded for inhumane treatment and emotional and mental distress. How much can we afford??? A lack of compassion may have a very high price.

  • Sgt Friday

    …..another corrupt political lackie wanting special treatment, stay in the pokie they should have used the RICO ACT on him….don’t worry blago will jion you soon,….then quinn, etc. ,etc., ….it never stops

  • Ryan’s Attorneys To Appeal To Obama « CBS Chicago – Breaking News, Sports, Weather, Traffic, and the Best of Chicago

    […] On Monday, the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied Ryan’s request to be released on bail … She is suffering from sepsis stemming from lung and liver cancer treatments, and doctors predict she has only days left to live. […]

  • edward c. stengel

    Now he’s going to have “Fast Eddie” Vrdolyak to keep him company. He can socialiize with someone more befitting a governor – another crooked politician.

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