A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Illinois lawmakers seek to modify death penalty

[JURIST] Illinois lawmakers presented legislation Friday that could end the current state moratorium on executions. House Bill 2704 [text] calls for "guilt beyond any doubt" to replace the current penalty phase standard in capital cases of "guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." Jurors would still find guilt or innocence under the reasonable doubt standard, but a death sentence could only be imposed it the jury found no doubt of guilt. The legislation is intended to stop the wrongful convictions that lead then-Governor George Ryan to halt all executions in the state in 2000. Before leaving office in 2003, Ryan commuted the death sentences of 167 inmates, and since that time the Illinois Supreme Court has been given greater power to throw out unjust verdicts. AP has more.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.