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File photo: Restraints are shown on a table inside the death chamber of the lethal injection facility at San Quentin State Prison, California. AP Photo/Eric Risberg
Death Penalty

Death penalty abolished in Illinois

Governor commutes death sentences of over a dozen inmates and abolishes the state’s death penalty.

THE GOVERNOR OF ILLINOIS Pat Quinn has abolished the state’s death penalty, more than a decade after it imposed a moratorium on executions for fear an innocent person could be put to death.

The moratorium followed growing concerns about the justice system, after the death sentences of 13 condemned men were thrown out by the courts.

It was introduced by then-governor George Ryan, who commuted the death sentences of over 160 inmates before leaving office in 2003.

Governor Quinn said the abolition was the most difficult decision he had made in office, but added: “I think if you abolish the death penalty in Illinois, we should abolish it for everyone”.

Quinn also commuted the sentences of the 15 remaining inmates on Illinois’ death row to life in prison.

Fourteen other US states have done away with executions, the most recent being New Mexico in 2009. However, New Mexico’s new governor is seeking to reinstate the death penalty there.

- AP

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