Springfield, IL – Illinois' highest court will not get involved in a challenge to Governor George Ryan's powers to commute death sentences. The Illinois Supreme Court today refused to hear Attorney General Jim Ryan's lawsuit. Jim Ryan had challenged the governor's authority to commute death sentences for 31 inmates who either didn't sign clemency petitions or who have had their death sentences overturned.
A spokeswoman for Jim Ryan says he is considering other legal options. That could mean filing the lawsuit in circuit court. Jim Ryan filed two lawsuits lastmonth against the state Prisoner Review Board's clemency hearings for more than 130 inmates on death row. Jim Ryan also sued over the board's time limit for the hearings. That lawsuit was dismissed by a Sangamon County judge yesterday. The board is scheduled to conduct the hearings next week. It will then forward confidential recommendations to Governor George Ryan.