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Jury in Former IL Gov. George Ryan's Trial: Trouble Reaching Verdict

The jury in the corruption trial of Former Illinois Governor George Ryan, who commuted the death sentences of all of the state's death row inmates because so many had been wrongfully convicted, sent a note to the Judge today saying they were having difficulty reaching a verdict. The judge didn't give them a dynamite instruction, but instead told them to "treat each other with dignity and respect." She also warned them not to deliberate in smaller groups.

The Judge said the jurors are having personal problems. If you haven't been following the case,

The charges allege that as secretary of state and later as governor from 1999 to Ryan steered big-money state leases and contracts to Warner and other insiders and was rewarded with free vacations and gifts. Ryan and Warner maintain they did nothing illegal.

I hope the jury acquits or declares themselves deadlocked. As I wrote here:

Governor George Ryan is a courageous hero. Saving the life of an innocent man is far more profound an act of justice than any act of bribery or political misconduct in office can be considered an act of injustice. We don't care what happened with taxes and driver's licenses in Illinois. We care about saving the lives of these innocent and wrongfully convicted men.

Our past coverage of the trial is here.

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  • So, following the logic here means that GWB just needs to pardon/commute a bunch of people wrongly convicted and all is forgiven? I'm surprised at this comment. Ryan in my opinion is corrupt, ruthless and unethical. Just because he did something that was a great act of compassion, doesn't mean that the rest of the slate should be wiped away or excused. I hope he is convicted and that he goes to jail for his currupt actions while serving as an elected official of the people of Illinois.

    TL.... who commuted the death sentences of all of the state's death row inmates because so many had been wrongfully convicted No...Not true at all! Ryan commuted these sentences because he was not an advocate of capital punishment and he knew he was going down. It had nothing to do with "so many had been wrongfully convicted". I agree that the state's legal system sucks... but they aren't that incompitent! He is one of the most corrupt politicians in Illinois history...and that's saying something! The jury is having trouble because a few of them lied (aka - misrepresented themselves) during selection. Thanks for the NY Times type (misleading) headlines though.

    BB, you never fail to produce the irrational nonsense we've all come to expect from you. In fact, you're so incompetent, you can't even spell the word. While there's little or no doubt that Ryan is corrupt in many areas, the fact that one could not be certain that no one on the Illinois Death Row had been wrongfully convicted was inescapable. Anyone with even a shred of decency who took their oath to uphold the law seriously would have no choice but to react the same way. As always, feel free to provide any evidence to the contrary.

    BB, you never fail to produce the irrational nonsense we've all come to expect from you. In fact, you're so incompetent, you can't even spell the word. While there's little or no doubt that Ryan is corrupt in many areas, the fact that one could not be certain that no one on the Illinois Death Row had been wrongfully convicted was inescapable. Anyone with even a shred of decency who took their oath to uphold the law seriously would have no choice but to react the same way. As always, feel free to provide any evidence to the contrary.

    Charlie... Speaking of "irrational nonsense'.. Do you read what you are writing? Better yet...do you actually read (& comprehend) what you are writing about? I NEVER said that "one could not be certain that no one on the Illinois Death Row had been wrongfully convicted". I simply rebutted TL's NY TIMES head line that EVERYONE was commuted because so many had been wrongfully convicted. Now read that over again very slowly.... There is always a 'possibility' that a very small fraction of wrongful convictions might exist... but everyone? Not hardly Charlie... How irrational is that statement! Try reading before you spout your "irrational nonsense". Although being very irrational yourself... I know that might be very difficult for you. I live in Illinois...that's all the 'evidence' I need!

    Charlie.. BTW... you can keep bugging me about spelling ... but I won't get on you for being so inept as to not know how to post the same thing only one time! Others have given you sh@t for not knowing how to do other simple things (like box your comments properly), but I don't stoop to those childish things. You want to debate...let's debate. How you spell or set up your reply isn't that important... what you are trying to say is. Try sticking to that...ok?

    Fair enough, you can't do that either.

    BB, you are wrong. Gov. Ryan was a supporter of the death penalty who acted despite his personal beliefs because of the unfairness of his states death penalty system. The NY Times reported he voted for the death penalty as a legislator. He didn't become an opponent of the death penalty until he learned the truth about how unfairly it is applied and how flawed it is. Since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, The Innocence Project reports that in Illinois "twelve people had been executed and thirteen freed from death row after their innocence was proven, five of them due to postconviction DNA testing" by the time Governor Ryan issued his death penalty moratorium in 2000.

    I'm another Illinois resident. I have to say that my impression is that Governor Ryan's suspension of the application of the death penalty, followed by reviews of the pending cases and commutation of sentences, had little to do with courage and lots to do with spin and image manipulation. The Governor's background, while it may or may not be criminal (I'll take the jury's word, either way they go), is incredibly slimy. I'd like to ask, as well, shouldn't we count the additional highway deaths likely caused by licenses granted to bribers who were not qualified drivers? Craig R.