Ill. governor considering legislation to abolish death penalty - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Ill. governor considering legislation to abolish death penalty

(KFVS) - Gov. Pat Quinn says he is considering legislation that would abolish the death penalty in Illinois.

Eleven years ago, then Governor George Ryan declared a moratorium on executions in Illinois.

Current Gov. Pat Quinn says he will act on legislation that could abolish the death penalty altogether.

In 2000, Gov. Ryan put a moratorium on executions.  In 2002, the state held a series of clemency hearings involving families of victims and local prosecutors.

In 2003, Ryan commuted the sentences of every inmate on Illinois death row.

There hasn't been an execution in Illinois since 2000.  Could that become permanent?

Gov. Pat Quinn says he is considering legislation that would abolish the death penalty in Illinois. He didn't say he would sign it, only that he would act on it this week.

Quinn says he has spent the past two months consulting prosecutors, murder victims families, death penalty opponents and religious leaders.

Williamson County Prosecuting Attorney Charles Garnati says abolishing the death penalty would make his job more difficult.

"Several times over the years I have been able to use the fear of the death penalty to get a defendant to plead guilty for natural life," Garnati said.  "What that does is that means that we don't have to have a trial and it makes it so much easier on the victim's family that's been left behind."

Currently, Illinois is one of 35 states that have a death penalty.

The governor says he will base his decision on his conscience.

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