Illinois Governor Wants to Revive Death Penalty

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Illinois Governor Wants to Revive Death Penalty


It has been 18 years since Illinois stopped executing prisoners on death row. If Governor Bruce Rauner gets his way, however, the death penalty will once again become part of the state’s criminal justice system.


Under a proposal floated by Gov. Rauner, prosecutors could seek a death sentence for someone who commits mass murder or murders a police office. He said imposing this ultimate penalty is necessary to protect public safety.


Illinois formally repealed the death penalty in 2011. This followed a moratorium put in place in 2000 by then-Governor George Ryan. This moratorium lasted for ten years and was established in response to a series of questionable prosecutions and the exoneration a death row prisoner.


Gov. Rauner says that there will be safeguards put in place to guard against wrongful convictions and inconsistent application of the death penalty. Opponents of capital punishment say that regardless of the precautions taken by the state, there is always that chance that an innocent person could be convicted and executed.


Reinstatement of the death penalty must be approved by the legislature. With Democrats in charge of both houses of the legislative branch, it is unlikely that the governor’s idea will be enacted.


Do you think that Illinois should bring back the death penalty for someone who murders a police officer or commits mass murder?


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