Death Penalty Reform Becomes Law in Illinois

The long awaited Illiniois death penalty reform law took effect today after being passed by the Illinois legislature.

Among other things, the new Illinois law would ban the execution of anyone judged to be mentally retarded and requires prosecutors disclose promises made to witnesses.

The new law also would give defendants new protections such as access to all evidence favorable to them, allow judges to rule out the death penalty in cases reliant on a single witness or police informant, and give the state's Supreme Court justices powers to overturn a death penalty conviction for reasons other than procedural errors.

Ill. Governor Rod Blagojevich said he will maintain the moratorium on the death penalty in Illinois until it can be shown that the new reforms work.

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