Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ending the Cycle of Violence in the Land of Lincoln

As state and federal authorities weigh whether to pursue the death penalty against the mentally ill young man charged with shooting Rep. Giffords, killing five people and wounding 13 others, Illinois is on the verge of doing something historic to curb the cycle of violence.  Both state houses have approved a bill to repeal the death penalty and reallocate the money saved to the Capital Litigation Trust Fund, which will assist victims' families and improve law enforcement.  There has been a moratorium on executions in Illinois since 2000, following shocking revelations that more than a dozen innocent people had been sentenced to death in the state.  It is now up to Governor Pat Quinn to sign the repeal bill.  (Call the State Capitol office 217-782-6830 or the Chicago office 312-814-2121 or both to urge Gov. Quinn to sign).  Illinois would become the 16th state without capital punishment.  (New Mexico abolished the death penalty in 2009 and New Jersey did so in 2007.)


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