January 24, 2011
By Ray Long
Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon today called on Gov. Pat Quinn to sign the ban on the death penalty that lawmakers approved this month, saying Illinois “cannot tolerate error in execution.”
In a letter, Quinn’s Democratic running mate said the state allows a person to be executed based on being guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” but not “all doubt.” “Even in the best of circumstances, our system allows for error,” wrote Simon, a former Downstate prosecutor. She said 20 inmates sentenced to death in Illinois since 1977 have been freed because they were innocent or the case against them collapsed.
Quinn has yet to say how he will act. He has kept in place the current moratorium on executions, but he said during the fall campaign he supported the death penalty for some crimes.