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Quinn Nears Decision On Death Penalty Bill

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Gov. Pat Quinn (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

Gov. Pat Quinn (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

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CHICAGO (WBBM) — Gov. Pat Quinn is nearing a decision on the controversial bill that would abolish the death penalty in Illinois.

Newsradio 780’s Bob Roberts reports, Quinn said Wednesday that he is making the decision deliberately and carefully. When asked who has lobbied him on the bill, he said simply, “Everyone.”

Quinn said he has spoken with prosecutors, with victims’ rights groups, with the families of the murdered and with prison reform groups.

“Whoever wants to speak on this issue, I think it’s important for the governor to have a period of time to listen, to have a dialogue, to have folks whether they’re for the legislation or opposed to it, to be able to speak,” he said.

Newsradio 780’s Julie Mann reports that family members of slain Chicago police officer Thomas Wortham were among those who spoke with Quinn.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Julie Mann Reports

Although he did not tip his hand, Quinn referred to the measure as “a law” and “a major step in Illinois.”

In the past, Quinn has voiced support for efforts to retain the death penalty, with precautions added to try to minimize the chance that the innocent would be executed.

To date, at least 20 Illinois inmates, who were once sentenced to death, have been exonerated of their crimes. Supporters say the death penalty is needed as a deterrent and as a bargaining chip in negotiations with criminal suspects and their attorneys.

The measure passed the legislature with the minimum number of votes necessary and was sent to his desk in the waning hours of the old legislature last month.

State law requires action within 60 days of the time he receives a bill. Quinn said he expects to announce the decision in the next couple of weeks.

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