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Illinois Abolishes Death Penalty
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Illinois today became the 16th state to abolish the death penalty when Governor Pat Quinn signed into law a bill passed last month by the state Assembly.  Governor Quinn also commuted the sentences of the 15 people currently on death row.

Illinois has executed 12 people since reestablishing the death penalty in 1977 including serial killer John Wayne Gacy.  The last execution took place in 1999 and there has been a moratorium on further executions in the state since 2000, when then Governor George Ryan announced that the state had freed more death row inmates (13) than it had executed (12) based on findings of innocence.

Governor Quinn pledged to keep the moratorium in place but during his campaign claimed to be pro-death penalty in general, leading some Republicans to charge that he has violated a campaign promise.

  
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