NEW VOICES: Former Prosecutors, Judges and U.S. Attorneys Urge Illinois Governor to Sign Death Penalty Repeal

A group of over 60 former state and federal prosecutors, judges, and other law enforcement officials recently wrote to Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois urging him to sign the bill passed by the General Assembly to repeal the death penalty. The law would also transfer state funds used for the death penalty to a fund for murder victims' services and law enforcement work. The group cited the death penalty's ineffectiveness in deterring violent crime and its high cost of implementation as the primary reasons for ending the death penalty. The letter stated, " Throughout Illinois, law enforcement officials are struggling to find needed dollars for police, forensic investigations, and aggressive prosecution of a wide range of criminal activity. The vast sums that would be spent on the death penalty in the years ahead are sorely needed for other, more effective law enforcement purposes." The letter also cautioned against retaining the death penalty in order to obtain guilty pleas in exchange for life sentences, saying that "using the death penalty as an instrument of coercion has led to false pleas and erroneous convictions."  And merely limiting the death penalty, the group said, " would not solve the underlying flaws that inevitably occur when the authorities are under pressure to win convictions in high-profile cases." See below for list of signatories.

Cynthia Giacchetti
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

 Thomas M. Breen
Former Assistant Cook County
State’s Attorney

James B. Burns
Former U.S. Attorney

Stuart Chanen
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

Patrick M. Collins
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

William F. Conlon
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

Vincent J. Connelly
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

George J. Cotsirilos
Former Assistant Cook County
State’s Attorney

William Cousins
Former Illinois Appellate Court Justice
Former Cook County Circuit Court Judge

Jeffrey H. Cramer
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

Matthew C. Crowl
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

Joseph J. Duffy
Former First Assistant U.S. Attorney
& Chief of the Criminal Division

Thomas A. Durkin
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

Zack Fardon
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

Gabriel A. Fuentes
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

Chris C. Gair
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

John N. Gallo
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

Alan Greiman
Former Cook County Circuit Court Judge
Former Illinois Appellate Court Justice

Ted S. Helwig
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

Patricia Brown Holmes
Former Cook County Circuit Court Judge
Former Assistant Cook County
State’s Attorney

Gary V. Johnson
Former Kane County State’s Attorney

Walter Jones
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

Michael H. King
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney
For Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice
Organized Crime and Racketeering Section

John Kocoras
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

Steven M. Kowal
Former U.S. Department of Justice Attorney

Michael Kreloff
Former Assistant Cook County
State’s Attorney
Former Assistant Illinois Attorney General

Scott Lassar
Former U.S. Attorney

Marvin Leavitt
Former Cook County Appellate Court Justice
Former Cook County Circuit Court Judge

George N. Leighton
Former Cook County Circuit Court Judge
Former Illinois Appellate Court Justice
Former U.S. District Court Judge

Lori E. Lightfoot
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

Robert A. Loeb
Former Assistant Cook County
State’s Attorney

Jeremy Margolis
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney
Former Special Assistant Lake County
State’s Attorney (Prosecutor of Hector Ruben Sanchez)

William J. Martin
 Former Assistant Cook County
 State's Attorney (Chief Prosecutor
 of Richard Speck)

Mary Ann G. McMorrow
Former Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice
Former Illinois Appellate Court Justice
Former Cook County Circuit Court Judge
Former Assistant Cook County
State’s Attorney

Paddy McNamara
Former Cook County Circuit Court Judge

Michael D. Monico
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

Jorge Montes
Former Assistant Cook County
State’s Attorney

Sheila Murphy
Former Cook County Circuit Court Judge

Gordon B. Nash, Jr.
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

Lisa M. Nollar
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

Mark D. Pollack
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

Daniel M. Purdom
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney


Kwame Y. Raoul
Former Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney

Daniel E. Reidy
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

Dom J. Rizzi
Former Illinois Appellate Court Justice

Ron S. Safer
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

Stephen A. Schiller
Former Cook County Circuit Court
Judge

John R. Schmidt
Former Deputy U.S. Attorney General

Zaldwaynaka Scott
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

Karen Shields
Former Cook County Circuit Court Judge

Charles B. Sklarsky
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney
Former Assistant Cook County
State’s Attorney

Michele Smith
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

William E. Spizzirri
Former Assistant Cook County
State’s Attorney

David J. Stetler
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

Jeffrey E. Stone
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

Jeanette Sublet
Former Assistant Cook County
State’s Attorney

James R. Streicker
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney
Former Assistant Illinois Attorney General

Thomas P. Sullivan
Former U.S. Attorney

James R. Thompson
Former U.S. Attorney
Former Assistant Illinois Attorney General

Ann C. Tighe
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

Scott Turow
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

Alexander S. Vesselinovitch
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

Dan K. Webb
Former U.S. Attorney

Warren D. Wolfson
Judge Former Illinois Appellate Court Justice
Former Cook County Circuit Court Judge

Sheldon T. Zenner
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney
 

(Letter to Governor Quinn, January 21, 2011).  See Costs, Deterrence and Recent Legislative Activity.