Clemency hearing set for incarcerated cancer patient
The clemency hearing for an 11-year cancer patient has been scheduled for Oct. 9 at the Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St., Chicago
Thomas J. Franzen, 37, of Montgomery, was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to possession of more than 5,000 grams of marijuana. Franzen had 42 pounds of THC-infused chocolates shipped to his home.
Kane County prosecutors had alleged that he was trying to sell the candy, but Franzen’s attorney, David Camic, said his client was using the edibles to ease the pain associated with his cancer treatment.
Franzen pleaded guilty to importing cannabis edibles from an unauthorized seller as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, in which other charges against him were dismissed.
The hearing is before the Prisoner Review Board.
Letters regarding Franzen’s release must be sent both to the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office and to the review board by Sept. 18, according to the notice from Prisoner Review Board Chairman Craig Findley.
“The board will make a confidential recommendation on each petition reviewed and will forward their recommendation to the Governor’s office,” Findley’s letter stated.
Camic said his client, who is still being treated for cancer, is suffering while at Stateville Prison. He has been there since June 14.
“He is in constant pain. He’s got migraines. He’s not getting all the medications he is supposed to get. He’s got bowel and kidney issues,” Camic said.
Earlier reports of Franzen’s weight loss in prison were incorrect, Camic said.
“He lost 25 pounds. He started at 155 and now he’s at 130 pounds and he’s 5-foot-9,” Camic said. “The employees have been told not to drink the water there because it’s high in iron. But the people incarcerated there drink it. High iron content is bad for him.”
A spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Corrections stated in an email that she would look into the issues of Franzen’s medications and iron in the water.
The clemency petition stated that Franzen’s crime “was motivated by an attempt to mitigate his pain and symptoms through the use of cannabis. His medical need to use cannabis is verified and supported by the fact that he was granted a medical use card.”
Camic’s petition noted that the charge Franzen pleaded guilty to is a probational offense.
“A fair and compassionate reading of the history both of this case and Mr. Franzen’s health suggest that his release as soon as possible would serve the interests of justice,” the petition stated.
The clemency petition includes details that Franzen was first diagnosed with testicular cancer while a junior in high school.
Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon stated In a press release at the time of Franzen’s June 7 sentencing: “In recognition of the seriousness of Mr. Franzen’s medical condition, our office reduced a 12-year mandatory minimum sentence to four years, of which he is required to serve only two years. We did this in spite of evidence that proves that Mr. Franzen is a drug dealer.”
Letters regarding Franzen’s clemency petition may be sent to the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office, 37W777 Route 38, St. Charles, IL 60175 and to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board, 319 E. Madison St., Suite A, Springfield, IL 62701.