SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Gov. Pat Quinn has approved 17 clemency petitions, the third time he has done so since taking office in January.
Quinn says approving the petitions is part of an effort to clear a "massive backlog" of nearly 2,500 clemency requests that built up under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
The approved petitions are among 33 reviewed by Quinn and represent a chunk of cases in the July 2003 docket.
State officials say each person granted clemency has recently undergone a criminal background check.
Quinn says erasing the backlog of clemency cases is a top priority.
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