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The Mechanics
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News Thu Mar 10 2011

The End of Capital Punishment in Illinois

On Wednesday, Governor Quinn signed legislation abolishing the death penalty in Illinois. Here's a round-up of some memorable commentary from news outlets and organizations across the country:

"We have lived with the illusion that we can reserve capital punishment for the so-called worst of the worst -- the most heinous, brutal or repetitive murders. What we have failed to realize is that those very crimes stir our deepest anxieties and outrage, and thus are hardest to deal with in the kind of rational, highly deliberative way that taking a life should require."
-Chicago attorney and author Scott Turrow, writing in The Chicago Tribune

"One new interesting wrinkle in this eternal debate over crime and punishment is, not surprisingly, a financial one. Strapped for cash and budget room, more and more state lawmakers around the country, and even victims rights groups, are understanding more clearly just how expensive capital punishment is relative to its deterrent value."
-Andrew Cohen, writing in The Atlantic

"Moving from moratorium to abolition allows resources to be redirected toward proven crime prevention measures - and holds Illinois up as a beacon for human rights."
- Debra Erenberg, Midwest regional director for Amnesty International USA, according to a press statement

"We all have our opinions, but as far as I am concerned, if we have the death penalty let's use it, not argue about it."
-Evelyn McGann, leader of the Contra Costa/East Bay Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children, speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle

"Nobody knows what it's like to hear your sister say, 'Don't shoot me. Why should he be able to sit there in prison until he turns over and dies? It's not fair."
-Peoria resident Rachel Williams, who, in 1996, was shot in the head and witnessed the murder of her 12-year-old sister and best friend, speaking to The Chicago Tribune

"To Rob Warden, who was there at the beginning..."
-Columnist Eric Zorn, who goes on to list many more people who fought for the abolition, writing in The Chicago Tribune

"It was a tool to hold over an offender's head, if nothing else. And taking that tool away, I think, opens up several problems, not only for law enforcement officers on the street, but for correctional officers who have to deal with these individuals in prison."
-Channahon Police Chief Ignacio Joe Pena, speaking to FOXillinois.com

"I'm disappointed that he did that. We made significant reforms to the death penalty procedures. I heard of no evidence that (it) was not working."
- Henry County State's Attorney Terrance Patton, speaking to The Quad-City Times

"In the last three years, New York, New Jersey and New Mexico have outlawed the death penalty. Political reality suggests that Missouri will not soon join them. But with enough reading, enough studying and enough thinking by enough people, someday it may."
-St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial Board, writing in The Platform

 
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Atlanta Roofing / March 10, 2011 11:32 PM

The hurt you feel the day after the death sentence is carried out for murder, is
not any better than the day before. The pain caused by the death sentence of an innocent person only adds to the tragedy. The State of Illinois had a serious problem of innocent people being condemned to
death. There are many reasons why an innocent person is convicted, but there are too many
cases where this is true. As long as the person is still alive a bad conviction can be
overturned¬. The death of an innocent person is not justice.

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Feature

Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...

Civics

Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

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Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
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Editor: Mike Ewing, mike@gapersblock.com
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