St. Louis Public Radio News
11:58 am
Wed October 23, 2002

G. Ryan Alters Position on Blanket Clemency

Springfield, IL – Illinois Governor George Ryan says he probably won't commute the sentences for every prisoner on Death Row.

He says he has no doubt that some of the 142 people asking for clemency are guilty. But he says he'll focus on separating those people from the ones who haven't had a fair trial or a fair hearing.

Ryan also defended the clemency hearings being held in Chicago and Springfield. Critics accuse the governor of needlessly dredging up painful memories for victims' families. Ryan says the inmates' petitions could have been handled on paper, but prosecutors wanted to testify and present sympathetic witnesses. Peoria County State's Attorney Kevin Lyons, for example, says family members couldn't have conveyed their emotions well enough on paper.