Tom Henry to See Parole Board Again

Tom Henry to See Parole Board Again

large-book-image-bg-thumbnailI stopped writing blogs last year, when I returned to work after my business non-competition agreement had run its course. My last blog was May 3, 2013, announcing last year’s rejection of Henry’s parole application. I’m still too busy to resume writing blogs – although I’m seriously considering beginning my next book project – but this blog I must write because Henry is about to see the parole board again. In three days, in fact, on Thursday.

A little background: Henry has been seeing the parole board—actually, the IPRB (Illinois Prisoner Review Board)—for nearly twenty years. He was first eligible after completing eleven-and-a-fraction years of incarceration. After his first appearance, he then saw the parole board every three years. Back then, the parole board was allowed to choose a one, two or three year time interval between parole board hearings. That interval is colloquially known as a “set” in prison argot. They always gave him the longest possible set—three years—because he hadn’t done enough time to pay for his horrible crime.

Fast forward to last year’s parole hearing, which was Henry’s sixth. Although he was ultimately rejected for parole, just like each time before, it wasn’t quite like each time before. For one thing, Henry had done 30 years of incarceration and had reached the age of 65. That’s a long time. You can’t commit a crime as an adult, do 30 years, and have much life left—especially if you took a 13-year fugitive vacation from incarceration!

The main difference in last year’s parole board hearing from the five before it was the result. Yes, it was still a rejection, but for the first time in six hearings he got, not one, but two votes in favor of parole. He’d never gotten even one before! And, in a year when a change in the law allowed the parole board to set him longer—up to five years now—they decided to review his case in one year, the shortest time possible.

A meteorologist, therefore, might have described last year’s result as cloudy and drizzling, but no longer pouring, with a forecast of sun poking through thinning clouds.

For each time of the last two parole hearings, Northwestern Adjunct Law Professor Alan Mills has appointed student(s) to assist Henry through the process. The first time the student, Richard Robinette, now an IP attorney at Alston & Bird LLP in Dallas, did a fabulous job; the second time was a pair I won’t name because, well … not so much. I won’t bore you with the disgusting details, because you can read them in my blog of 2013/03/24. This year, once again, Attorney Mills came through with two law students, this time two great ones, Ariel Simon and Andrea Ryken, who have been fantastically caring and helpful to Henry in his parole board preparation.

I apologize for not contributing blogs during the past year and I thank you for your patience.


David Hendricks

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