It's been nearly two weeks since Illinois lawmakers passed a bill to abolish the death penalty in the state, and Gov. Pat Quinn has yet to decide on whether or not he will sign the legislation. Since its passage, he has solicited advice and opinions from citizens and heard from U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, who changed his mind and now believes states should not put criminals to death.
This weekend, a group of 65 high-profile legal professionals, wrote to Quinn urging him to sign the bill. The letter, which was signed by former Gov. James Thompson and former Illinois Supreme Court Chief Mary Ann McMorrow, said, "There simply is no credible evidence that the death penalty deters crime." And today the Tribune reported on a trial in Naperville that could hinge on Quinn's decision on the death penalty.
If the facts about 20 people being sentenced to death and later exonerated isn't enough to convince the governor that the draconian practice should be abolished, maybe the growing consensus among prosecutors, retired judges, and other members of legal community will be.