Federal prosecutors may seek the death penalty for seven members of an Aurora, Il.-based street gang — getting around Illinois’ moratorium on the death penalty, says the Chicago Sun-Times. The moratorium started by former Gov. George Ryan and continued by Gov. Blagojevich applies to state cases.
The 14 defendants in the case against the Aurora gang are on notice that the government may seek the death penalty for half of them. “As I sit here, I am aware of a lot of capital cases; I am not aware of any where there have been seven defendants on trial in a capital case,” said U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo. “I think that this case would be unique in that sense.” Castillo authorized each of the seven defendants to have two attorneys, one experienced in capital cases.