Death Penalty Reforms Come Slowly in Illinois


An Illinois state committee established as part of the much-heralded death penalty reforms enacted in November 2003 met for the first time Monday–three months after it was supposed to issue its first report, reports the Chicago Tribune. Gov. Rod Blagojevich, authorized to name one person to the 15-member committee, did not make his appointment until November, a year after he agreed to the legislation.

Meanwhile, a system many Illinois citizens hoped would be vastly improved, if not fixed, with the landmark 2003 legislation, continues to reveal flaws, officials from the Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty said Wednesday. The flaws include coerced confessions, crime-lab errors, prosecutors withholding key evidence from defense attorneys, using paid informants, seeking the death penalty for mentally ill defendants and pursuing capital punishment when guilt is not certain, the coalition said in releasing a new report.


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