Former Ill. governor loses another appeal

Oct. 25, 2007 at 4:56 PM
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CHICAGO, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- A full federal appeals court refused a rehearing Thursday for former Illinois Gov. George Ryan, putting him one step closer to prison.

A majority of the nine appellate judges on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the three-judge panel that upheld Ryan's conviction 2-1, The Chicago Tribune reported.

The court issued a one-sentence ruling. But three judges dissented, although they agreed that errors in Ryan's trial were technically harmless.

"But harmlessness is not the test of reversible error when a cascade of errors turns a trial into a travesty," they said.

Ryan, a Republican, was convicted last year on corruption charges after a six-month trial and sentenced to 6 1/2 years in federal prison. Two jurors were dismissed during deliberations after the Tribune reported that they had concealed arrest records.

Ryan can still appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court and can also ask the 7th Circuit to stay his sentence while he does so. But legal experts say that courts rarely allow convicted defendants to remain free once they have lost at the appellate level.

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