Illinois Death Penalty Still Flawed

In November, 2003, the Illinois legislature enacted a series of death penalty reforms. One called for the creation of a state committee to study problems in the system. The committee was supposed to issue a report three months ago. It didn't. Why? Because it met for the first time this Monday.

Current Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who has maintained the moratorium on the death penalty put in place by former Governor George Ryan, did not appoint his delegate to the Committee until last week. During the time that the Committee should have been constituted and preparing a report, the Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty reports that flaws in the system continue:

The flaws include coerced confessions, crime-lab errors, prosecutors withholding key evidence from defense attorneys, using paid informants, seeking the death penalty for mentally ill defendants and pursuing capital punishment when guilt is not certain, the coalition said in releasing a new report.

....And the General Assembly has failed to consider further needed reforms, particularly establishing a statewide review committee to determine when capital punishment should be pursued, said Jane Bohman, coalition executive director. That would make application of the death penalty more uniform, she said.

Death penalty opponents fear there is a "false sense of complacency" in Illinois.

If they knew of ongoing problems and the much higher costs of pursuing the death penalty instead of life in prison, a majority might favor repeal of capital punishment, the coalition believes. "We think once we have that debate, people will come out and say, `This is a waste,'" Bohman said.

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  • Re: Illinois Death Penalty Still Flawed (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Feb 17, 2005 at 03:47:34 PM EST
    The state is insane.

    Re: Illinois Death Penalty Still Flawed (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri Feb 18, 2005 at 08:55:44 AM EST
    Fred Dawes.. For once we agree... The state is insane (I live here) and the most insane thing was the last Governor commuting the sentences of most of the death row inmates. Can't think of anything more insane than that!