death penalty

Morning round-up
9:28 am
Mon March 21, 2011

Morning headlines: Monday, March 21, 2011

The dome of the Missouri Capitol Building in Jefferson City, Mo.
(via Flickr/jimbowen0306)
  • Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer says he is looking for around $500 million of savings in the state budget over the next several years. Missouri's Legislature is not in session this week because of its annual spring break. But Mayer says he nonetheless will be meeting with Senate budget-writing staff to try to identify changes that can save the state money. Mayer is a former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He gave little indication of what he is looking to cut. But Mayer did note that a gubernatorial commission has identified potential savings by restructuring and paring back the state's tax credits. Senate Majority Leader Tom Dempsey says the chamber is expected to take up a package of tax credit changes when lawmakers return from their break.

  • University of Missouri curators head to Rolla to determine the qualifications for the system's next president. The two-day meeting beginning Monday at Missouri University of Science and Technology follows several statewide public forums by a 20-member advisory panel that will help curators choose the new president. Curators are looking to replace Gary Forsee, who retired in January to care for his ill wife. Former general counsel Steve Owens is the interim president but is not interested in the permanent job. Campus leaders expect the presidential search to last most of this year. Curators will craft a statement on the desired qualifications of the four-campus system's next leader based in part on public comments from the statewide meetings.

  • The state of Illinois' decision to eliminate the death penalty means about three dozen state employees will soon be out of work. The (Decatur) Herald & Review reports that State Appellate Defender Michael Pelletier began notifying about 37 employees in his office on Friday that their jobs are being eliminated. That's because Gov. Pat Quinn abolished the death penalty earlier this month and commuted the sentences of the 15 men on death row. Most of the employees being cut are lawyers who handled death penalty cases. The reduction will save about $4.7 million.

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Illinois Death Penalty
12:46 pm
Wed March 9, 2011

Illinois governor abolishes death penalty, commutes sentences

Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn.
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has abolished the state's death penalty.

The Democrat signed legislation Wednesday abandoning capital punishment, two months after Illinois lawmakers voted to do the same and more than a decade after former Gov. George Ryan imposed a moratorium because of concern that innocent people could be put to death.

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Morning round-up
9:32 am
Wed March 9, 2011

Morning headlines: Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The St. Louis Police Department S.W.A.T. team on the scene of yesterday's standoff on Osage St. in St. Louis, Mo.
  • A deputy U.S. marshal shot in the head while trying to arrest a fugitive early Tuesday morning has died. The U.S. Marshals Service in Washington, D.C. says 48-year-old John Perry died at 7 p.m. Tuesday night at Saint Louis University Hospital. He had been with the U.S. Marshals for almost 10 years. Authorities say the suspect, Carlos Boles, shot Perry and a second U.S. marshal and a St. Louis police officer as they were trying to arrest Boles on charges of assaulting a law enforcement officer and drug possession. Boles was killed in the exchange. U.S. deputy marshal Theodore Abegg was shot in the ankle and as of last night was listed in fair condition at SLU.  The St. Louis police officer was hit in his protective vest and received a grazing wound to the face. He was treated at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and released.

  • Illinois Governor Pat Quinn reportedly plans to sign a bill to abolish the death penalty in the state. The two sponsors of the bill say Quinn's staff told them he intends to sign it at a ceremony today. State Rep. Karen Yarbrough and state Sen. Kwame Raoul told The Associated Press on Tuesday that they have been invited to the bill signing in Quinn's Springfield office.  Quinn's office declined to comment about his intentions.  The new law would take effect July 1. Former Gov. George Ryan imposed a moratorium on executions in Illinois in 2000 after the death sentences of 13 men were overturned. Ryan cleared death row before leaving office in 2003.

  • A former St. Louis alderman who was recalled from office in 2005 over his support for controversial development projects in his south city ward seems poised to take his old seat back in April. Tom Bauer defeated the current 24th Ward incumbent, Bill Waterhouse. Bauer will face an independent candidate in April. The three other incumbents facing primary challenges all won. In the south side’s 20th ward, Alderman Craig Schmid beat Shannon McGinn. Sixth Ward Alderman Kacie Starr Triplett beat out criminal defense attorney Brad Kessler to continue representing Lafayette Square and Downtown West. And in the St. Louis Hills’ Ward 15, incumbent Donna Baringer beat out former Circuit Clerk Mariano Favazza. As expected, voter turnout was low with less than 7 percent of the city’s registered voters casting a ballot.

Illinois Death Penalty
4:08 pm
Mon March 7, 2011

Quinn says will act on death penalty this week

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Gov. Pat Quinn says he will act this week on a bill that would abolish executions in Illinois.

Quinn said Monday that he's "going to act" this week, but not Tuesday. He said there's still information he wants to read and research he wants to do before acting on the legislation.

The legislation reaches Quinn after former Gov. George Ryan dramatically cleared the state's death row in 2000.

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Martin Link
5:17 pm
Mon February 7, 2011

Nixon denies clemency to Link, Missouri prepares for first execution in 2 years

Martin Link, scheduled to be executed on Wednesday, Feb. 9, was denied clemency by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon today. (Missouri Department of Corrections website)

UPDATE 2:08 p.m. Feb. 8, 2011:

The Missouri Supreme Court is refusing to halt the execution of Martin Link.

The court announced the decision without comment on Tuesday.

Link's attorney, Jennifer Herndon, says two appeals (mentioned in our original story below) are still pending before the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Original Story:

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Morning News Round-up
9:21 am
Tue January 18, 2011

Morning Headlines: Sen. Blunt on Wagner and the RNC, Put Illinois to Work, Paying for Gov. Nixon's flights, Durbin on the death penalty

U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo) in St. Louis on July 13, 2010. Blunt shared his remarks on the failed bid for Mo. Republican Ann Wagner to take the top job in their party, Chair of the Republican National Committee, last week. (UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Good morning! Here are a few headlines to start your day!

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Christopher Coleman
11:57 am
Fri January 14, 2011

Judge refuses request to delay Coleman trial

Christopher Coleman, the man who alledgedy murdered wife Sheri and sons Gavin and Garett in Columbia, Ill. Coleman requested a delay in his trial, which a judge refused today. (UPI/Bill Greenblatt)
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

In an update to a story we told you about earlier today, a judge has refused the request of Christopher Coleman's defense to delay Coleman's trial.

Coleman, accused of strangling his wife and their two sons in 2009, is scheduled to go to trial next month.

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Other News
5:01 pm
Thu January 13, 2011

Nixon still supports death penalty

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon
St. Louis Public Radio

Speaking in St. Louis on Thursday Missouri Governor Jay Nixon would not elaborate on the reasons why he commuted the death sentence of convicted murderer Richard Clay.

Clay was sentenced to death for the 1994 murder-for-hire of Randy Martindale.

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Illinois Lame-Duck Session
1:40 pm
Wed January 12, 2011

Quinn comments on Ill. tax increase, death penalty

The Illinois General Assembly has passed several major bills in the last few days of its lame-duck session.

Two of the bills, one on an income tax increase and the other on abolishing the death penalty in Illinois, were the focus of a press conference held today by Gov. Pat Quinn.

Here are some highlights of Quinn's comments:

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Illinois Death Penalty
3:06 pm
Tue January 11, 2011

Illinois Senate votes to abolish death penalty, bill goes next to Gov. Quinn

The Illinois Capitol building in Springfield, Ill. (via Flickr/jglazer75)
(via Flickr/jglazer75)

UPDATE 3:03 p.m. Jan. 11, 2011:

The Associated Press is reporting that the Illinois Senate has voted to abolish the death penalty in that state.

The Chicago Tribune also reports the following:

The ban on executions goes to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who must sign the legislation for it to become law. During last fall's campaign, Quinn said he supports "capital punishment when applied carefully and fairly," but also backs the 10-year-old moratorium on executions.

The Senate voted 32-25 to approve the ban, with two members voting present.

 

UPDATE 1:13 p.m. Jan. 11, 2011:

The Illinois Senate is debating the death penalty bill this afternoon on the floor. You can listen or watch the debate live here.

Earlier Story:

Illinois has moved one step closer to a vote on abolishing the death penalty in the state.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee voted this morning to advance a bill to repeal the death penalty, setting up a probable full Senate vote later today.

The bill passed in the House last week in a quick re-vote when the first vote failed the bill, 59-58.

The Chicago Tribune also has more information on the history of the death penalty in the state, via legislation and key cases in their story today.

 

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