Eleven years after Illinois’ passed a moratorium on capital punishment, Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill abolishing the death penalty today.
Five of the seventeen people across the country who were proven innocent by DNA testing after serving time on death row were from Illinois.
Back in January, Illinois lawmakers voted to do away with capital punishment. The governor then spent the following two months speaking with prosecutors, victims’ families, death penalty opponents and religious leaders before making a decision, according to the Associated Press.
“I think if you abolish the death penalty in Illinois, we should abolish it for everyone,” the governor said.
Gov. Quinn was joined by colleagues and supporters at his Springfield office this afternoon when he signed the bill to outlaw Illinois’ death penalty.
The ban takes effect on July 1 and makes Illinois the fourth state in the past two years—following New York, New Jersey and New Mexico— to abolish capital punishment.
Quinn also commuted the sentences of all 15 inmates remaining on Illinois’ death row.
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Read about the Innocence Project’s
position on the death penalty
learn about people who were sentenced to die and later exonerated through DNA testing