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Public Statements

Issue Position: Death Penalty

Issue Position

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I am co-sponsor of SB 2277 which would set up uniform criterion for the limited and reasoned use of the death penalty; only for the worst of the worst offenders. I voted to end the use of an unjust death penalty law due to its unfair and poor implementation. Illinois had spent millions on capital punishment cases during a time when three Governors from both sides of the aisle imposed a moratorium on its use -- due to 20 examples of innocent people sitting on death row. And until a far better procedure is instituted, it is better to let heinous criminals waste away in prison for the rest of their lives rather than execute one innocent person.

Since George Ryan was the Governor, there has been a death penalty ONLY in name in Illinois. Not in use -- and for good reason. Over 20 INNOCENT people were on death row. Let me state that again, these were not people merely not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt... they were wrongly on death row. Period. To continue to use the process, a process known to be flawed, when dealing with human life, is wrong.

There are plenty of examples suggesting Illinois is a pretty corrupt State. If we can't get our budget straight, if we can't keep our Governors out of jail and if we can't fix pension issues or other "lighter issues"... why does any reasonable person think we can administer the ultimate punishment justly? And we didn't by the way. We didn't. That's a fact.

The State Journal-Register put it well when they said; "The state's ratio of executions to exonerations was not merely an indication of a flawed system that needed fixing. It was a flashing red light warning us that, as long as we dabble in eye-for-an-eye justice, we will risk killing innocent people."

Even though the moratorium was in place, prosecutors throughout the State kept pretending the death penalty was in effect which kept ringing up expense -- over $110 million has been spent on death penalty cases (defendants get lawyers paid by the State and appeals paid for too). So while we were pretending to send killers away to their death (and weren't), the moratorium remained in effect, meaning no one was executed but capital cases were being paid for by the State as if it were in effect! The worst of both worlds! All the costs but no use... and some big mistakes along the way.

Part of the bill I voted for includes a provision that the funds saved by repealing the death penalty should be reallocated to services for victim's families and training for law enforcement -- far better uses than the State "maybe" putting the right person to death.

Finally, some people really do think that it is better to let all of the guilty scum-bags waste away their remaining days rotting in a prison cell than have one innocent person be wrongfully put to death by the State. And I am one such person.


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