tedster - 3:53 pm on Jul 4, 2011 (gmt 0)
There's a current thread that may help you a bit - Reconsideration Requests - are some responses automated? [webmasterworld.com]. Note the replies from Pierre Far who is a Google employee.
I don't think you can count on a human visit to your site, because Google employees can see a lot, and very quickly, through their internal tools. For example, they can quickly see if there is a manual penalty or not, and if there isn't - they send you a boilerplate response that there is no manual penalty to be removed.
I've always assumed that most of the manual inspection was done via internal tools, anyway. If you submit a request and the site gets crawled after that, then they have what they need to see on their own servers.