While Gov. Pat Quinn granted 179 clemency petitions in time for Christmas Day, thousands of other applicants are awaiting word during the outgoing Democrat's final weeks in office.
Quinn inherited a backlog of thousands of cases from his predecessor. Spokeswoman Katie Hickey says Quinn mostly worked through those, but there has been a surge of new applicants during Quinn's tenure.
During his six years in office, he's acted on nearly 4,000 cases, which is more than recent governors. But he still faces about 3,000 cases.
Some attorneys are feeling a particular time crunch with Republican Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner taking office Jan. 12. They say it's unknown how he'll proceed since it's his first time in public office.
A Rauner spokesman has said the Winnetka businessman will carefully review cases.