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Illinois Death Penalty Officially Ends
The Huffington Post/AP
It's been more than a decade since former Illinois Governor George Ryan imposed a moratorium on executions and cleared death row, fearing that an imperfect justice system can lead to wrongful executions. Even though no one was executed, capital punishment was still on the table-- until Friday.
In March, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a death penalty ban and cleared death row. "If the system can't be guaranteed, 100-percent error-free, then we shouldn't have the system," Quinn said at the time. "It cannot stand."
Illinois death penalty ban takes effect Friday
By Ray Long, The Chicago Tribune
SPRINGFIELD — The death penalty in Illinois officially ends Friday, and the 15 prisoners who once faced execution already have been scattered across prisons throughout the state.
Gov. Pat Quinn signed the ban on capital punishment March 9, but the law didn’t take effect until July 1. At the time, the governor also said he would commute the sentences of those already on death row to life in prison. Quinn wanted to avoid the inconsistency of having a death penalty ban for future crimes but still having inmates awaiting execution.
Read more at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/clout/chi-illinois-death-pen...
Quinn's Courageous Decision
Chicago Tribune Editorial
Gov. Pat Quinn made history as quietly as possible Wednesday. In a private meeting with a small group of supporters, he signed into law a bill that abolished the death penalty in Illinois. He also commuted the sentences of the state's 15 death row inmates to life in prison without parole.
It was "the most difficult decision I have made as governor," Quinn told reporters. We believe that, and we warmly commend him for that decision.We understand why Quinn chose to avoid the fanfare that often accompanies the signing of major legislation. But this is a big moment, worthy of significant, if sober, celebration. Recognizing the intractable flaws of a system that sent at least 20 innocent men to death row, Illinois has taken a difficult but courageous step. No government can sanction an instrument of justice that takes such risks with the lives of innocent people.
Read more at: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-03-09/news/chi-110309death-penal...