Illinois Commission on Capital Punishment
The Death Penalty Information Center has assembled the following press materials and Web links to provide easy access to information regarding the work of the Illinois Commission on Capital Punishment, a blue-ribbon panel that has recently completed the nation's most comprehensive state review of the death penalty. The Commission's findings and recommendations will surely capture the attention of lawmakers and legal experts throughout the nation who are watching closely to track the impact of this review beyond Illinois. The Commission's recommendations aim to address problems Illinois Governor George Ryan identified two years ago, including potential safeguards to prevent the possible conviction and execution of innocent inmates.
Two years ago, Illinois Governor George Ryan appointed a 14-member Commission on Capital Punishment to closely examine Illinois's death penalty, and he declared the nation's first moratorium on executions until the review was completed. A milestone moment in America's quest for a fairer justice system, Ryan's step helped spark an unprecedented series of events throughout the country. Prior to forming this commission, the Governor declared that his state's death penalty was fraught with error, noting: "[The Illinois capital punishment system is] so fraught with error and has come so close to the ultimate nightmare, the state's taking of innocent life."
Since Ryan's call for a review of the death penalty in Illinois, many governors from coast to coast have voiced concerns about the fairness of their states' systems, and nine states have launched comparable studies of capital punishment policies. In addition, legislatures in nearly every state retaining the death penalty considered reform legislation, and an escalating number of communities and organizations are calling for a halt to executions until capital punishment concerns are addressed.
NEW VOICES (pdf)
Northwestern University's Center on Wrongful Convictions
The Illinois Death Penalty Education Project
American Bar Association's Death Penalty Representation Project
Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty
DPIC's Innocence Page