Eleven years ago this month Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation that made Illinois the 16th state to abolish the death penalty. Now more than half the states have either abolished capital punishment or have enacted a formal moratorium. This, along with opinion polls, the number of executions and new death sentences, shows continued erosion of support for capital punishment across the United States, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. A key reason is the risk of executing an innocent person. Since 1973, at least 186 people who had been wrongly convicted and sentenced to death have been exonerated. Another who has a strong case for innocence is scheduled for execution in Texas on April 27. Last week a bipartisan group of 87 members of the Texas House, led by a conservative Republican, called for clemency for Melissa Lucio, sentenced to death on charges she murdered her two-year-old daughter; forensic experts argue the toddler died from an accidental fall down stairs. The case shows, again, that the death penalty is not reserved for the worst of society, but for the most vulnerable. – Fletcher Farrar, editor

About The Author

Fletcher Farrar

Fletcher Farrar is the editor of Illinois Times .

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