Leaders Weigh in on Governor Rauner's Controversial Death Penalty

15 May, 2018, 13:54 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Illinois Governor proposed death penalty for murderers and those who kill police

Governor Rauner's Proposal also includes other public safety measures. The bill now goes back to the Democratic-controlled Legislature for approval.

"Individuals who commit mass murder, individuals who choose to murder a law enforcement officer, they deserve to have their life taken", Rauner, a Republican who took office in 2015 and is up for reelection this year, said at a news conference.

If the death penalty returns to IL, as Gov. Bruce Rauner proposed Monday, it might not have much of an effect on the strategy of criminal defense attorneys. His changes added capital punishment and other provisions, including a ban on bump stocks, the rifle-firing speed accessory used in a mass shooting in Las Vegas a year ago. We didn't propose the death penalty lightly.

"If he had wanted it for everyone, I would have disagreed with the principle, but when he puts police lives [as] more valuable than the black and brown children dying everyday then perhaps Gov. Rauner should be charged with a hate crime!"

The Chicago Tribune reports that "the provision that would allow confiscation of guns from people who are deemed dangerous" would last 14 days initially. "We are intent on avoiding wrongful convictions and the injustice of inconsistency".

In fact, the language in Rauner's amendatory veto would raise the burden of proof on prosecutors. If they do not act, the whole package will expire without becoming law. Lawmakers can turn Rauner's changes into law through a simple majority vote.

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"This is a major policy change", said Koehler.

He further proposed a higher standard for determining guilt in a death penalty murder: Guilt beyond all doubt. He told reporters that would eliminate cause for concern, noting that "so many times, the person is caught in the act" or "there are multiple witnesses, and they're fleeing the act".

That would apply to offenders 18 and over that prosecutors charge with killing peace officers or two or more people without lawful justification.

But Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, D.C., said IL is rife with examples of recanted eyewitness testimony and confessions beaten out of suspects by police. Death penalty opponents point to the 20 death row inmates who have been exonerated in the past three decades as proof of problem here in IL. Pat Quinn signed legislation that officially repealed the death penalty in 2011.

Republican Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, also released a statement in which he supported reinstating the death penalty for what he called "the most serious of violent crimes".

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