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Report: Downstate Lawmaker Seeking To Reinstate Death Penalty

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ALTON, Ill. (CBS) — A downstate lawmaker plans to introduce a bill to reinstate the death penalty in Illinois.

Sen. William Haine (D-Alton), tells the Illinois Radio Network he believes former Gov. George Ryan was “absolutely incorrect” when he commuted the sentence of all Death Row inmates before leaving office in 2003. He also tells the network that he believes Gov. Pat Quinn was “wrong” to support a statewide ban on the death penalty, which was passed last year.

Under the new death penalty bill Haine is proposing, acts of terrorism, mass murder, and murder during rape would qualify for the death penalty. He such crimes as the Aurora, Colo., movie theater massacre, the Sikh temple shootings outside Milwaukee, and the shooting in Tucson, Ariz., that killed six people and injured U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords would warrant the death penalty under his plan, the network reported.

Haine also downplayed the wrongful convictions that led Ryan to place a moratorium on the death penalty in 2000, telling the network that there were only “some flaws in just 13 cases out of several thousand.”

Quinn signed the bill abolishing the death penalty in March 2011, and the ban went into effect on July 1 of last year.

In signing the ban, Quinn cited the state’s long history of mistakes in death penalty cases, pointing out that 20 former Illinois death row inmates have been set free after they were later exonerated.

Quinn said he believes a sentence of life without the possibility of parole is a just punishment for criminals who commit the most heinous murders.

From 1977, when the death penalty was reinstated, to the moratorium in 2000, the state freed 13 men from death row and executed 12.

Haine told the Illinois Radio Network he may introduce the reinstatement bill during the fall veto session in November, and hopes to get enough votes to override a veto by Quinn.

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