Death row dies in Ill. | St. Louis Public Radio

Death row dies in Ill.

Jul 1, 2011

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky used in this report.

Murderers convicted in Illinois will no longer be sentenced to death row as the state ban on capital punishment takes effect Friday.

It won't remain in place long if Republican Representative Dennis Reboletti of Elmhurst has his way.

Reboletti says he will try pass a law reinstating the death penalty.

"It just goes back to the gravity of the situation," Reboletti said. "Do the people of the state of Illinois believe that if you take a life in such a way, if you murder a police officer, do we believe that the ultimate punishment should be death to that individual?  I believe the people of the state of Illinois agree with me, and that should be the case."

Reboletti's legislation stalled in the House this past session, but he said he believes there's enough support for it to pass. Reboletti said the only reason it got through the General Assembly is because the vote came during last year's veto session and so got support from so-called "lame duck" legislators.

The Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty says it's poised to fight back legislation to overturn the ban.

The organization's Director, Jeremy Schroeder, says maintaining the ban will be an easier than the years of work put into passing it.   He says given that the death penalty has been abolished in Illinois, the group will downsize.