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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Death penalty abolition

Yesterday Gov. Quinn signed the abolition of the death penalty into law. He had mulled this legislation for quite a while until he was finally ready to enact it yesterday.

The Capitol Fax had a round-up of opinion on the abolition. A little history on how the discussion over the death penalty started. A Republican Governor - George Ryan - decided to look into the issue especially after a man named Anthony Porter narrowly avoided being put to death over a decade ago.

It was also noted that the death penalty was abolished in the 1970s per a US Supreme Court ruling only to be ressurected in 1977 by another Republican Governor - James Thompson. Even then Rich Miller noted that Gov. Thompson only had one death penalty case to deal with.

One conclusion drawn from this is that while I'm sure there were no easy solutions to sending the wrong people to death row in Illinois, the ones who could've provided solutions simply dragged their feet. They either didn't want to be seen as "soft on crime" by taking on this issue or the prosecutors or police were more interested in "turf protection and denial" to really address this issue.

I may generally support the death penalty, however, what happened here is that the proponents of abolishing the death penalty had won this battle. The ones who weren't willing to address the issues of innocent people going to death row were left in the cold.

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