Capital punishment in Illinois
Capital punishment was a legal form of punishment in the U.S. state of Illinois until 2011, when it was abolished.
Initially, Illinois used death by hanging as a form of execution. The last person executed by this method was the public execution of Charles Birger. In 1928, the electric chair was substituted for death by hanging. After being struck down by Furman v. Georgia in 1972, the death penalty was reinstated in Illinois on July 1, 1974 but voided by the Supreme Court of Illinois in 1975. Illinois officially reinstated the death penalty on July 1, 1977. Lethal injection was adopted in the state in 1990, but the electric chair remained operational in Illinois to replace lethal injection if needed.
In 1994, the state executed serial killer John Wayne Gacy, who sexually assaulted, tortured and murdered at least 33 teenage boys and young men between 1972 and 1978 in Cook County (a part of metropolitan Chicago). The last man executed in Illinois was the serial killer Andrew Kokoraleis in 1999.
On January 11, 2003 the Republican Governor George Ryan blanket commuted the sentences of all the 167 inmates condemned to death, and pardoned four of them, a gesture that his opponents attribute to the fact that he was rendered ineligible by his unpopularity and charged with conspiracy, racketeering and fraud.
Democratic Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation on March 9, 2011 to abolish the death penalty in Illinois to go into effect July 1, 2011, and commuted the death sentences of the fifteen inmates on Illinois' death row to life imprisonment. Quinn was criticized for signing the bill after saying that he supported the death penalty during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign after which he defeated the Republican candidate with 46.8% of the vote.
- "Moral Corruption in Illinois". The American Cause. January 25, 2003. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
- "Illinois Governor Signs Capital Punishment Ban". nytimes.com. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
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