Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to reinstate death penalty to curb violence

Bruce Rauner press conference

The state is better off without the death penalty, we wrote in 2011, because "Illinois will no longer risk executing an innocent person".

On reinstating the death penalty for cop killers and mass murders, Rauner said: "Few crimes are more heinous than purposeful killings of children and peacekeepers, ".

"I don't think it would change how a defense lawyer approaches his or her job", said Jeffrey Urdangen, clinical associate professor of law and director for the Center of Criminal Defense at Northwestern University.

In a release from the Governor's Office, Rauner says he wants the death penalty re-instated for,"mass murderers and anyone who kills a law enforcement agent". The legislature could also vote to override Rauner's changes and enact the original language with a two-thirds majority vote. Local leaders weigh in on the controversial proposal, seven years after the death penalty was abolished by State Lawmakers.

The proposal to bring back the death penalty to IL was made as part of an amendatory veto of state legislation that would have implemented a 72-hour waiting period for assault weapons in IL. "These individuals who commit mass murder, individuals who choose to murder a law enforcement officer, they deserve to have their life taken". Four other states have had moratoriums imposed by their governors during the same period, which has seen a nationwide decline in both death sentences and executions. Rauner's proposal is a standard that's been kicked around in the past and may have validity if the issue of juror certainty had been the narrow focus of the death penalty debate.

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After the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, executions hit a peak of 98 in 1999. Using his amendatory veto power, he effectively rewrote the legislation to create a tough-on-crime cornucopia. The proposal is part of a comprehensive public safety initiative.

The administration of Republican President Donald Trump has instructed federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty in drug-related cases whenever it is "appropriate", to counter America's epidemic of opioid abuse. He also called for an extended waiting period for any gun purchases, advocated for restraining orders to be used to "disarm unsafe individuals" and asked for judges and prosecutors to have to explain reduced charges in plea deals reached in gun cases.

IL senator Dave Koehler says he believes Rauner's announcement is a tactic used to kill the gun bill as a whole. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel backed the measure. It would apply to people 18 and older who are charged with killing police officers or two or more people.

"We are intent on avoiding wrongful convictions and the injustice of inconsistency", he said. "Suggesting a return to this failed policy is particularly disappointing from a Governor who has proclaimed that the concept of redemption must be a critical part of criminal justice reforms".

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