Governor Pat Quinn Signs Legislation Banning Death Penalty - The Chicago Criminal Law Blog

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Governor Pat Quinn Signs Legislation Banning Death Penalty

The Chicago Tribune reported Governor Pat Quinn recently signed a bill banning the death penalty in Illinois and converting the sentences of 15 death row convicts to life without parole. He signed the measure during a private ceremony held in his office in Capitol Hill and said it was "the right, just thing to abolish the death penalty."

"Since our experience has shown that there is no way to design a perfect death penalty system, free from the numerous flaws that can lead to wrongful convictions or discriminatory treatment, I have concluded that the proper course of action is to abolish it," Quinn wrote when signing the statement. "With our broken system, we cannot ensure justice is achieved in every case."

The governor said this was the same reason he chose to alter the sentences of those on death row to life imprisonment. “For me, this was a difficult decision, quite literally the choice between life and death,” said Governor Quinn.

The new death penalty ban is expected to take effect on July 1.

The legislation has come almost 11 years after the previous governor, George Ryan, announced a moratorium on any further executions since the reinstatement of capital punishment in 1977. Thirteen inmates who faced death were cleared at the time, and Ryan had also cited an investigation held by the Tribune that evaluated almost 300 death penalty cases in Illinois.

The newspaper’s research revealed error, ineffectiveness, and prejudice often undermined and demoralized many of the capital cases.

For more general information regarding the death penalty in Chicago, visit the Related Resources links below.

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