Thursday, March 10, 2011

arbitrary and capricious

"As if one crime of such nature, done by a single man, acting individually, can be expiated by a similar crime done by all men, acting collectively."
-Lewis Lawes, warden of Sing Sing prison in NY in the 1920s and 30s

Illinois Death Penalty Abolished: Pat Quinn Signs Death Penalty Ban, Clears Death Row

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — After two decades of debate about the risk of executing an innocent person, Illinois abolished the death penalty Wednesday, a decision that was certain to fuel renewed calls for other states to do the same.

Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat who has long supported capital punishment, looked drained moments after signing the historic legislation. Lawmakers sent him the measure back in January, but Quinn went through two months of intense personal deliberation before acting. He called it the most difficult decision he has made as governor.

"If the system can't be guaranteed, 100-percent error-free, then we shouldn't have the system," Quinn said. "It cannot stand."

Illinois becomes the 16th state in the nation without a death penalty more than a decade after former Gov. George Ryan imposed a moratorium on executions out of fear that the justice system could make a deadly mistake.

Quinn also commuted the sentences of all 15 men remaining on death row. They will now serve life in prison with no hope of parole.  [article continued HERE]

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