Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Mali: Jihadist group announces death of french hostage

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Tutu cautions ANC: South African peace laureate criticizes ruling party

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Clamping down on jihad propaganda online

Read more

DEBATE

Homegrown Jihadists: France Sets Out Plan to Monitor Web and Support Families (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Homegrown Jihadists: France Sets Out Plan to Monitor Web and Support Families

Read more

WEB NEWS

Ukrainians turn Russian 'evidence' into meme

Read more

FOCUS

Copenhagen seeks to decriminalise use of cannabis

Read more

FACE-OFF

French president's advisor resigns: A new blow for François Hollande

Read more

ENCORE!

Films as plays, plays as films and TV at the cinema

Read more

  • Fatah, Hamas agree to form Palestinian unity government

    Read more

  • UN: Millions of Syrians desperately need aid

    Read more

  • Muslims in CAR pray for an escape route

    Read more

  • US soldiers arrive in Poland as Ukraine crisis continues

    Read more

  • Madrid beat Bayern 1-0 in first leg of Champions League semis

    Read more

  • New far-right mayor moves to quash Paris region mosque

    Read more

  • Britain's ex-PM Blair warns against spread of radical Islam

    Read more

  • Turkish PM offers condolences to descendants of Armenians killed in 1915

    Read more

  • Gay marriage, one year on: ‘French civilisation did not crumble’

    Read more

  • Colombian president reinstates firebrand Bogota mayor

    Read more

  • NYPD public relations campaign on Twitter goes awry

    Read more

  • In pictures: Violent protests erupt in Rio

    Read more

  • French hostage Gilberto Rodrigues Leal has died, Islamists say

    Read more

  • 'Pope-mania' hits John Paul II's Polish hometown

    Read more

  • French actress Catherine Deneuve to sell €4 million château

    Read more

  • Chelsea, Atletico draw 0-0 in first leg of Champions League semis

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch offensive in the east after politican 'tortured'

    Read more

  • Echoes of 2pac and Biggie? French rap feud turns violent

    Read more

  • New French film tackles grisly anti-Semitic murder

    Read more

Americas

Illinois is 16th state to axe death penalty

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-03-10

Illinois became the 16th US state to abolish the death penalty Wednesday, when Democrat Governor Pat Quinn signed the historic legislation. The change was voted for by state lawmakers two months earlier after a decade of debate on the subject.

AP - The governor of Illinois abolished the death penalty Wednesday, more than a decade after the state imposed a moratorium on executions out of concern that innocent people could be put to death by a justice system that had wrongly condemned 13 men.

Gov. Pat Quinn also commuted the sentences of all 15 inmates remaining on Illinois’ death row. They will now serve life in prison.
 
State lawmakers voted in January to abandon capital punishment, and Quinn spent two months reflecting on the issue, speaking with prosecutors, victims’ families, death penalty opponents and religious leaders. The Democrat called it the “most difficult decision” he has made as governor.
 
“I think if you abolish the death penalty in Illinois, we should abolish it for everyone,” the governor said.
 
Illinois’ moratorium goes back to 2000, when then-Republican Gov. George Ryan made international headlines by suspending executions. The Republican acted after years of growing doubts about the justices system and after courts threw out the death sentences of 13 condemned men.
 
Shortly before leaving office in 2003, Ryan also cleared death row, commuting the sentences of 167 inmates to life in prison. Illinois’ last execution was in 1999.
 
When the new law takes effect on July 1, Illinois will join 15 other states that have done away with the executions.
 
New Mexico had been the most recent state to repeal the death penalty, doing so in 2009, although new Republican Gov. Susana Martinez wants to reinstate it.
 
Quinn consulted with retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and met with Sister Helen Prejean, the inspiration for the movie “Dead Man Walking.”
 
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan appealed directly to Quinn to veto the bill, as did several county prosecutors and victims’ families. They said safeguards, including videotaped interrogations and easier access to DNA evidence, were in place to prevent innocent people from being wrongly executed.
 
But death penalty opponents argued that there was still no guarantee that an innocent person couldn’t be put to death. Quinn’s own lieutenant governor, Sheila Simon, a former southern Illinois prosecutor, asked him to abolish capital punishment.
 
Twelve men have been executed in Illinois since 1977, when the death penalty was reinstated. The last was Andrew Kokoraleis on March 17, 1999. At the time, the average length of stay on death row for the dozen men was 13 years.
 
Kokoraleis, convicted of mutilating and murdering a 21-year-old woman, was put to death by lethal injection.
 
 

 

Date created : 2011-03-09

Comments

COMMENT(S)