SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WBBM/CBS) — More than a dozen inmates on Illinois’ death row would still be eligible to be put to death, even if Gov. Pat Quinn signs into law a repeal of the death penalty.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports, the law abolishing the death penalty would have no bearing on inmates who have already be sentenced to death. It would only affect future sentencing.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports
But in order for the inmates to be put to death, Quinn would have to lift the moratorium on the death penalty put in place more than 10 years ago by Gov. George Ryan. He could also commute their sentences, or leave them on Death Row but leave the moratorium in place.
Former Death Row inmate Rolando Cruz would be fine with current Death Row prisoners being executed. He tells the inmates facing death deserve it, and owe their lives of their victims.
Cruz was wrongfully sentenced to death for the 1983 murder of 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico in Naperville. In the time since he was exonerated, another man, Brian Dugan, has confessed to the crime and sentenced to death.
Cruz told the Daily Herald that Dugan should be executed by “lethal injection, which he so rightfully deserves.”
Nicarico’s father, who now lives in South Carolina, is also against lifting the ban, calling it a cop-out on the part of legislators. He says the death penalty serves a purpose, and should remain intact as a deterrent and a possible punishment for the very worst offenders.
But Cruz’s former attorney, Lawrence Marshall, said the likely repeal is a vindication for the work many people have done over the years to expose wrongful convictions, the Daily Herald reported. Marshall co-founded the Center for Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University.
The legislation to abolish capital punishment in Illinois has passed both houses of the state General Assembly, but Gov. Pat Quinn has not said if he will sign or veto it.
Quinn has said he supports the death penalty when properly applied, but he hasn’t lifted the moratorium. He said he wants to hear from constituents and would follow his conscience.
If Quinn signs the bill, it will go into effect July 1, the Daily Herald reported.