Death Penalty Ends in Illinois

Governor Pat Quinn signed Senate Bill 3539 Tueday that puts an end to the death penalty in Illinois.

Governor Quinn stated how it took some time to arrive at this decision on this very important issue.

“For me, this was a difficult decision, quite literally the choice between life and death. This was not a decision to be made lightly, or a decision that I came to without deep personal reflection,” Quinn said in a statement.

After long personal reflection and several meetings with citizens, judges, religious leaders and victim’s families, Quinn decided that the death penalty in Illinois is not necessary for several reasons.

The governor expressed how the state can not tolerate the executions of innocent people because it threatens the creditability of the government.

Since 1977, Illinois has seen 20 people exonerated from death row, seven of those since 2000. With these numbers, Quinn concluded that there is no way to create a perfect death penalty system so instead of more wrongful convictions, the answer is abolishment.

Quinn also addresses the “eye for an eye” argument that most families of the victims have.

“I say that it is impossible not to feel the pain of loss that all these families share or to understand the desire for retribution that many may hold, but maintaining a flawed death penalty system will not bring back their loved ones, will not help them to heal and will not bring closure to their pain.”

William Price of Chicago agrees with the abolishment of the death penalty.

“Two wrongs don’t make a right,” Price said.

As a result of this bill, sentences of people who are currently on death row will be commuted to a natural life imprisonment sentence without the possibility of parole or release.

Other citizens believe that the decision will cost them money.

“As taxpayers, we will be paying for a killer in jail, that’s just dumb,” said Robert Kinard of Countryside.

Illinois joins 15 other states who have ended the death penalty. The bill will be effective July 1, 2011.