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Illinois Governor Clears Death Row

Discussion in 'Random Discussion' started by angelize56, Jan 11, 2003.

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  1. angelize56

    angelize56 Always remembered in our hearts Thread Starter

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    Apparently the system is too flawed. angel

    MSNBC Breaking News
    ------------------------------------------------------
    Illinois Gov. George Ryan clears the state's death row and commutes the sentences of all 156 inmates who had been condemned to die.
     
  2. bassetman

    bassetman Moderator (deceased) - Gone but never forgotten

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    The point of commuting the death sentences was to prevent any more people being put to death for something they didn't do.

    If you read more deeply some of the people had confessed after being beaten into confessing.

    No one who is quilty is being released, just not put to death for now.
     
  3. angelize56

    angelize56 Always remembered in our hearts Thread Starter

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    John: Yes I'm listening to it now. It's pretty interesting the state of affairs with their death row. Thanks. angel
     
  4. Rep

    Rep

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    Illinois Gov. Ryan expected to empty death row
    Incoming governor criticizes decision
    From Jeff Flock
    CNN
    Saturday, January 11, 2003 Posted: 2:11 PM EST (1911 GMT)


    CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) -- Outgoing Illinois Gov. George Ryan will issue a "blanket commutation" on Saturday to almost all of the 156 inmates on the state's death row -- reducing their sentences to life with parole -- according to a source in the governor's office.

    The governor's office has not confirmed the information, but sources said letters have already been sent to inform inmates' families that their lives will be spared. None of the prisoners, whose sentences are commuted, will be eligible for release.

    Gov.-elect Rod Blagojevich, the Democrat who will replace Ryan when he leaves office Monday, told CNN Saturday that he disagreed with the governor's decision.

    "I think a blanket anything is usually wrong," said Blagojevich. "We're talking about convicted murderers and I think that is a mistake."

    Inmates who have been convicted but not yet sentenced, or who have been remanded for a new trial, will not be not included in the commutations.

    On Friday, Ryan pardoned four other death row inmates that he believed were tortured into confessing to crimes they did not commit, sparking outrage from prosecutors and family members of victims.

    Ryan, a Republican who did not run for re-election in November, said he decided to pardon the four men, rather than commute their sentences to life, because he is convinced they did not commit the crimes that sent them to death row. All four men claim they were tortured by police.

    "I believe these men are innocent, or I wouldn't have pardoned them," he said. "There isn't any doubt in my mind these four men were wrongfully prosecuted and wrongfully sentenced to die."

    "The system has failed for all four men, and it has failed for all of the people of this state," Ryan said in a speech Friday at DePaul University Law School.

    But many prosecutors said they believe Ryan is the one who failed.

    "I believe that he is wiping his muddy shoes on the face of victims, using them as the doormat as he leaves his office," said Peoria County State's Attorney Kevin Lyons on CNN's Newsnight. "It says much more about George Ryan than it does about the death penalty."

    "By his actions today, the governor has breached faith with the memory of the dead victims, their families and the people he was elected to serve," said Cook County State's Attorney Richard Devine, who called the pardons "unconscionable."

    Madison Hobley, Leroy Orange and Aaron Patterson were released after their gubernatorial pardon Friday. Another inmate, Stanley Howard, remained in prison because he was convicted of a separate crime.

    Ollie Dodds, whose daughter died in the fire Hobley was convicted of setting and remains convinced he is responsible, said, "This brings back memories just like it happened."

    Lyons accused Ryan of arrogantly substituting his own judgment for those of juries and courts that have imposed and upheld the death sentences, assuming that "none of us get it but him."

    "Everybody has had not their day in court, they've had their years in court," Lyons said. "It's shameful that the victims of this state, in fact, have to not fear the courts, not the defense lawyers, not the defendants, but they have to fear their very own governor."

    Hobley, 42, who was convicted of killing seven people in a 1987 arson fire, including his wife and son, said the pardon was a "dream come true."

    "Thank God that this day has finally come," he said after being released from a state prison in Pontiac.

    Orange, 52, who was condemned after being convicted of four murders in 1985, said he felt "alive" as he walked out of the Cook County Jail.

    "I didn't believe it when I first found out about it," he said. "Thank you with all my heart and soul, and please do something for the remaining guys on death row."

    Patterson, 38, said he's "going to do all right" after walking out of the Pontiac prison. He was sentenced to die for the 1986 murder of a Chicago couple.

    "It was long overdue, and I thank Governor Ryan for taking the appropriate steps and having the courage to do the right thing," he said.

    All four are part of a group of 10 death row prisoners who claim they were tortured into giving confessions under the direction of then-Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge. He was fired after internal police investigators found systemic evidence of physical abuse of suspects.

    Capital punishment in Illinois came under the microscope after a group of journalism students at Northwestern University -- where Ryan is expected to make his commutation announcements Saturday -- began looking into the case of Anthony Porter in the late 1990s.

    The students, working with their professor and a private investigator, found evidence that cleared Porter after 17 years on death row. Ryan then vowed he would do whatever it took to "prevent another Anthony Porter."

    Ultimately, 13 inmates who had been sentenced to death were exonerated, and Ryan declared a moratorium on executions in the state. A panel, appointed by Ryan to examine capital punishment in the state and review the cases of all inmates on death row, concluded last year that Illinois had applied capital punishment too often since it was re-established in 1977.

    It remains to be seen whether Ryan will be remembered more for his stand against capital punishment or for a corruption scandal that shattered his career and crippled the state Republican Party he once led.

    A criminal trial is expected to get under way next week on federal prosecutor's allegations that Ryan's former chief aide and his campaign committee illegally diverted state resources for campaign purposes. A number of Ryan's close advisers have been indicted, and federal prosecutors have alleged the governor knew of attempts to conceal potential wrongdoing from investigators.

    Ryan has not been charged.
     
  5. SyscoKid

    SyscoKid

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    Why the anti-Quilty bias? Me sainted grandmittther was a Quilty!

    On a serious note, I respect the Republican governor's courage.
     
  6. angelize56

    angelize56 Always remembered in our hearts Thread Starter

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    This is a hard one Rep! Murder is murder no matter what the race or the situation. I can't form an opinion on this until I finish listening to the speech on MSN right now. Gee.....who do you believe? It's hard to believe ALL the inmates should have had their death sentences commuted! Now they're talking about ruling the death penalty unconstitutional in Illinois. At least all the prisoners will serve life with no parole.....right? I can see this outgoing Governor is going to be hated by many people! What is your opinion Rep? This governor is voicing his own views on this, not the people's. Take care. angel
     
  7. bassetman

    bassetman Moderator (deceased) - Gone but never forgotten

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    Syscokid ya caught my spelling! ;)

    I also respect his courage.

    Cook County is no place to get arrested no matter what your race or ethnicity! It's the Macon County of the North.
     
  8. Rep

    Rep

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    Angleize56

    I do not necessarily want to discuss the events in Ill. But, you did ask me my opinion on the death penalty. I will provide you an answer. In fact, this will allow me to put into writing my beliefs as well. This will be the basis for a news column I will write explaining to my constituents my position and reasoning on the death penalty.

    I would rather not discuss the Illinois thing as it goes far beyond what I need to do. I will say this though. And, it will probably start a firestorm of its own. You had indicated that the Gov. of Ill might be going against the will of the people in making his pardons. Yes, he may. That is the right and the responsibility of any elected official. There are times when I take positions that may not be popular with a vast majority of my constituents.

    Although none have been as large and well publicized as the Ill. death penalty pardons, a few come to mind. I voted against a measure that requires porno filters be placed on all computers connected to the net in public schools. I voted against the use of state funding to redo the Packer stadium. I voted for funding the reconstruction of a large spaghetti junction type interstate highway exchange in the urban Milwaukee area. (I represent a rural/small town type of district 250 miles from Milwaukee).

    I did so because at times the issues go beyond our little chunk of land called my assembly district. I have a responsibility to look at what is best on a statewide, or broader area. In general, my constituents will allow me to vote against their own self interests once in awhile. If I do so too often, well….I would simply have more time to spend at TSG. Hehe.

    I am of course not speaking for Governor Ryan. Nor do I know all of the intricate details surrounding the death penalty in Illinois. But I am aware that they have had difficulty with the implementation of the penalty. I would imagine given all of the facts as he sees them, he came to the conclusion that pardons are best. (I have not followed that issue this weekend and maybe my use of the term “pardon” is not accurate. I do believe that all of the criminals will spend life in prison with no chance for parole.)

    To be continued.
     
  9. angelize56

    angelize56 Always remembered in our hearts Thread Starter

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    We'd love you to spend more time here Rep! Now...are you for or against the death penalty? In my case...if it involves the rape or murder of children...I say death to them even though they only may have a moment of suffering....I cringe every time I think of the horror Samantha Runninon went through the last day of her precious life.....killing her murderer isn't good enough! I say an eye for an eye and he should suffer as she did. Poop on cruel and unusual punishment in his case! Samantha is the one who got dealt cruel and unusual punishment....and she was guilty of nothing except being in the wrong place at the right time. I hold mixed feelings in other cases...kill someone for killing....glad it's not my decision. Take care. angel
     
  10. Rep

    Rep

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    Continued from above...

    There are a few times that, as I traveled to Madison I would have to take a vote on very controversial issues. I am in the minority. The majority party often times will place bills on a legislative calendar simply to force a vote to embarrass the minority members in up coming elections. Do not get me wrong. The minority party also plays this game. But the majority bills actually pass the house. And, rarely does the press report the actions of the minority party.

    With a three hour drive, I have plenty of time to think about how I will vote on a particular hot button issue. Partial birth abortion, banning marriages between people that are gay, penalty enhancers for certain types of crime may be some examples.

    Sometimes I have changed my mind three or four times. (With experience it has become much easier. I now have far fewer “baby heart attacks” over issues.) I weigh many options. How do my constituents stand on an issue? What do I believe deep down in my heart to be the right thing? Is this the beginning of a slippery slope that could result in, what? And yes, what are the political ramifications for my actions? (Do I really want to spend more time at TSG? Hehe.), what are the fiscal ramifications, can we afford to do this in the long term? Is it simply fair? Who will be harmed and who will benefit?

    You see, nobody else is going to push that button. Only me. Is the red button the best vote? or is it that green one? Why can’t we have a white one that simply says, “I am not ready yet to make a decision”.

    To be continued.
     
  11. Rep

    Rep

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    Continued from above

    If you read my two posts above, you would have noted that at times it is a struggle deciding to either support or reject a hot button issue.

    That is not the case for me with this issue. I adamantly oppose the death penalty. No, it is not that I am in the least bit concerned about putting a guilty person to death. It is not that I want murders to run rampant within society. Rather, my opposition to the death penalty is simple. I am unwilling to, under any circumstances, execute an innocent person. Period.

    Police make mistakes. Prosecutors make mistakes. Juries make mistakes. As of right now, the mistake of execution cannot be corrected. It is final. For society to go back, even one time and say, “opps, we are sorry” is unacceptable to me.

    This is my position. I would rather lose my seat in a reelection bid on this one issue than vote for the death penalty.

    The death penalty bill that I will be voting on is for the murder of any person under the age of sixteen. At least that is the rumor. The bill has not been introduced in final form to my knowledge.

    The reason the bill is written for the murder of anybody under the age of sixteen is to make it harder to vote against it. That is politics in raw form. There will be personal examples touted in support of this bill. Stories that will make me cringe and turn red with anger. I will see pictures of murdered children. The parents of murdered children will testify at hearings. I will wonder if my position is correct. I will second quess myself.

    In the end, I will vote against it. As I do, it will be in full knowledge that should the state execute one innocent person we would have killed somebody’s child. A child that, like those murdered children did not deserve to die.
     
  12. angelize56

    angelize56 Always remembered in our hearts Thread Starter

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    Rep: Sorry I didn't get back to you! Busy at the Dr and such today. Would you support the death penalty if part of the law made it mandatory that there had to be positive DNA evidence? But see then you have to wonder how many people would get away with murder if they were smart enough not to leave DNA evidence. I wouldn't want to be in politics for anything like you! What a job and you get so little credit at times I bet! But I respect you as I've told you from the start. Mulder may rib you but you're a smart man! :) Take care. angel :)
     
  13. slipe

    slipe

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    I also have no objection to executing a guilty person, but think we might be better without the death penalty.

    I don’t like the psychology of a jury. They are much more inclined to be swayed by someone pointing at the accused and saying that was the person. Unfortunately such eyewitness testimony has been shown to be the least reliable. Opposing experts confuse the ramifications of technical evidence that is much more reliable.

    It is unreasonably expensive to execute someone. The rare cases of people turning out to be innocent after being sentenced to death justifies the extended appeals. It probably takes 10 or 12 years of appeals and housing in more expensive death row sections before someone can be executed. It also clutters the criminal courts that are offering plea bargains to make room.

    Our death penalty is at odds with most of the western world and complicates extradition. I don’t think that is a deciding factor, but we are seen as barbarians by our peers.

    Just stash them away for the rest of their lives with no chance of parole.

    I strongly disagree with the 4 pardons. The appeals process is quite comprehensive. If the complaints were valid there was plenty of opportunity to cast doubt on the convictions. The Governor was placing himself above the law and the courts.
     
  14. Rep

    Rep

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    Angelize56
    A56 - No problem. I hope that your time with the Dr. does not mean that you or yours are ill.

    Would I support the death penalty if part of the law made it mandatory that there had to be positive DNA evidence?

    I would need to know more about DNA evidence, how it is used and applied. I do not have that information. I am sure that should this become an amendment to a death penality bill and there is time, (not an amendment offered during floor debate at 2:00a.m.) to ask questions, or get information from experts then I may consider supporting it. My bottom line would still be 100% scientific certainty.

    I may be wrong, but I do not think any DNA evidence is reported at being certified at the 100% level at this time.

    Again, my concern is that we never, at any time, put an innocent person to death. Once a person is dead, there is no appeal process that I know of that will be effective.

    But I evade your question, don't I?

    I do not think we lawmakers ever write any piece of legislation that is always 100% accurate. No matter what the topic or issue may be. We can't do it with drinking laws, tax policy, traffic laws, child support payment levels and on and on.

    No, I cannot vote for the death penalty.

    The safeguards we will honestly try to write, will not be a failsafe protection to somebody that is innocent.
     
  15. angelize56

    angelize56 Always remembered in our hearts Thread Starter

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    Rep: I understand your viewpoint. It's a difficult issue to decide on in the first place. I think my opinion is based on my hatred of anyone who sexually assaults or murders a child....death is too good for those creatures! What about cases like Samantha Runnion's where you know the monster definitely killed her? I see no reason to keep that animal alive except to put him in with the general population of the prison and receive just punishment that way...you wouldn't see me crying over his demise. My passion for children's advocacy could be clouding my judgement! I know "judge not less ye also be judged". I'm glad I'm not the judge. Rep you have to vote with your heart and your conscience and that can be difficult for you. I like that you seem to think things through before deciding on anything. Your job is certainly no dream job. Thanks for taking the time to reply. I appreciate it. Take care Rep and good luck. angel :)
     
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