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Illinois Bans Death Penalty

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill banning the death penalty on Wednesday, making his state one of a small group to ban the punishment in recent years. At a signing ceremony, Quinn cited the many errors uncovered in capital-punishment cases in the state. "For me, this was a difficult decision, quite literally the choice between life and death," he wrote. "This was not a decision to be made lightly, or a decision that I came to without deep personal reflection." The law makes permanent a moratorium declared by then-Gov. George Ryan 11 years ago. Quinn also moved to resolve the status of 15 prisoners currently on the state’s death row, commuting their sentences to life without parole. The ban takes effect July 1.

March 9, 2011 9:17 AM