Illinois governor commutes sentence of jailed cancer patient
Apr 5, 2020 Updated Apr 5, 2020
(AP) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker commuted the sentence of a suburban
Chicago man with cancer who was serving four years in prison for
ordering 42 pounds of chocolate infused with the main psychoactive
component in marijuana.
Department of Corrections spokeswoman Lindsey Hess said Thomas Franzen
was released Monday from the Stateville Correctional Center in Crest
Hill, the Aurora-Beacon News reported. Hess added that the Montgomery man was ordered to complete two years of parole.
Franzen’s attorney David Camic said the man’s family was thrilled about his release.
would be easy to complain and say that the governor took too long (to
pardon his sentence), but realistically in the midst of all that is
going on with the coronavirus, we are grateful the governor took the
time to release him,” said Camic, adding that Franzen, 37, now lives
with his father in Sugar Grove.
Postal Service workers had noticed questionable packages routinely
being delivered to Franzen and opened one in February 2014 that
contained the THC-infused chocolate.
being initially charged with drug conspiracy and pot trafficking,
Franzen was sentenced to four years for a lesser charge of possessing
more than 5,000 grams of marijuana in June 2019. Franzen pleaded guilty a
day before Illinois voters approved the legalization of recreational
Franzen has battled
several forms of cancer since he was in high school, Camic said, adding
that he used the drugs to self-medicate. Franzen had been diagnosed with
testicular cancer that spread to his abdomen, both lungs, around his
aorta and a vocal cord.
family said his health was deteriorating while behind bars for the last
nine months and noted that he didn’t receive proper medical care. The
family’s concerns about Franzen’s health increased amid the coronavirus pandemic. At least one person at the Stateville prison has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but
for some, especially older adults and people with existing health
problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.
Pritzker has announced plans to release several low-level, non-violent offenders through a rigorous vetting process.
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