From Illinois Business Journal news services
SPRINGFIELD – Outraged at the spate of heinous killings of police and fatal mass shootings in places such as churches, Illinois Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton, announced Thursday he intends to refile legislation to restore the death penalty in limited cases involving the most evil of crimes.
Illinois’ last execution was in 1999.
“As a former state’s attorney, I understand the complexities of seeking the death penalty for individuals who have committed heinous crimes,” said Haine (left). “I have been shocked and appalled by the recent killings we have seen in churches and of police officers. The reality is there are some crimes in which the death penalty should be an option for a jury of our citizens to consider. Those who take the life of officers, or engage in mass killings, need to face the appropriate consequences.”
Haine initially filed similar legislation during the 97th General Assembly (Senate Bills 2276 and 2277). Haine intends to reintroduce the legislation for the current 99th General Assembly in the wake of series of atrocious murders across the country, including the murder of a police officer in Illinois.
The original legislation came out of death penalty reform proposals from the Illinois Capital Punishment Reform Study Committee. These measures would give state’s attorneys the ability to seek the death penalty in first-degree murder cases by requiring them to provide notice of intent to seek or decline the death penalty as soon as possible.
The proposed legislation would outline specific crimes which would be eligible to receive the death penalty such as; serial killings, heinous murders of a child, seniors or a person with a disability, murders of witnesses, correctional officers and law enforcement officials.
Haine plans to file the legislation when the Illinois Senate reconvenes in the coming weeks.
Former Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, abolished the death penalty in 2011, more than a decade after the state imposed a moratorium on executions out of concern that innocent people could be put to death by a justice system that had wrongly condemned 13 men. That moratorium had been ordered by former Gov. George Ryan, a Republican.
Just before leaving office in 2003, Ryan also cleared death row, commuting the sentences of 167 inmates to life in prison.