Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin said today he is sending a letter to President George W. Bush urging him to commute the federal corruption sentence of former Republican Gov. George Ryan to time served in prison.
In a letter to Bush, Durbin noted the 74-year-old Ryan "has lost his state pension benefits and a commutation will not restore them. He would emerge from prison facing economic uncertainty at an advanced stage of his life.
"For those who would argue that a commutation makes light of his crimes, it is clear that he has already paid a significant price and will continue to do so as long as he lives," Durbin wrote in the letter, a copy of which was provided to reporters. "Justice is a sword that should be tempered with compassion. Further imprisonment will not, in my opinion, serve the ends of justice."
The move by Durbin comes despite some substantial criticism since he first questioned whether Ryan should serve out his 6 ½ year sentence. Ryan has been in prison for a little more than a year following his 2006 conviction on fraud, racketeering and related corruption charges.