[JURIST] US District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer Wednesday sentenced former Illinois Governor George Ryan [Wikipedia profile; defense website] to 6 1/2 years imprisonment after dropping 2 of the 18 counts against him, holding that there was not enough evidence to convict Ryan on those charges. Defense attorneys stated that a term of 2 years or less was appropriate due to Ryan's age and poor health; however, the prosecution maintained that a sentence less than 8 to 10 years would be inappropriate.
Ryan's trial [JURIST report] began last year. In April, 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. The Chicago Tribune has more. 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]. At his sentencing hearing, Ryan asked the court to balance his faults against the good he said he had done.