Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (D) took the historic and humane step and abolished the state’s death penalty. While Quinn is on record as personally supporting the death penalty when properly implemented, after months of consultation he decided to sign the measure sponsored by state Rep. Karen Yarbrough and state Sen. Kwame Raoul.
The repeal will take effect July 1. Prosecutors would still be able to seek the death penalty and juries could still impose it until the law took effect.
Illinois last execution was in 1999, a year before then-Republican Gov. George Ryan imposed a moratorium on capital punishment after the death sentences of 13 men were overturned. Before leaving office in 2003 Ryan commuted the death sentences of the remaining 167 inmates to life in prison.
This adds Illinois to the 15 other states and the District of Columbia to abolish the death penalty.
Thanks for this success in no small part to our own Care2 community, where over 9,000 Care2 members signed the petition!
Photo credit: Steakpinball on Flickr