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Illinois Governor Quinn Still Mulling Death Penalty Decision

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Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN) - Gov. Pat Quinn is being lobbied hard on capital punishment.

On the governor’s desk sits legislation to repeal capital punishment, passed by the General Assembly in January, on which Quinn is expected to make a decision any day now. He has been lobbied by thousands of people, some saying sign it, some saying veto it. He has given no indication of which way he is leaning.

Quinn says he has met with prosecutors, family members of murder victims, exonerated former Death Row inmates and legal experts.

Heavy hitters such as the archbishop of Chicago have chimed in: Cardinal Francis George is in favor of repeal, as is Desmond Tutu, the Episcopal archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, and Sister Helen Prejean, a Louisiana nun whose experiences with a Death Row inmate became the basis for the film Dead Man Walking.

But Quinn says a lot of the correspondence he has received is from regular people. His office says the governor has received 12,000 pieces of correspondence – phone calls, letters and e-mails – urging him to sign the repeal, and about 700 urging him to veto it.

The governor has until March 18 to act. If he does nothing by then, the bill becomes law without his signature.

Illinois last had an execution in 1999. In 2000, Gov. George Ryan instituted a moratorium on executions, and the two governors since then have maintained that moratorium.

Copyright Illinois Radio Network

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