Who: Illinois Coalition Against the
What: The Illinois Coalition Against
the Death Penalty will release a comprehensive report on the
workings of the Illinois death penalty system in 2003. The report
reveals ongoing flaws in the prosecution of capital trials and
arbitrary application of the death penalty. It also shows an
increasing rejection of the death penalty by juries and judges.
Where: American Civil Liberties Union,
180 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 2300, Chicago
When: Tuesday, Jan. 27, 11 a.m.
Why: Given the widespread discussion of
death penalty reform in 2003, the Illinois Coalition Against the
Death Penalty decided to examine how the death penalty was operating
in practice. The coalition compiled the pending capital cases
throughout Illinois and reviewed the over 40 capital cases concluded
in the past year, of which only two resulted in the death penalty.
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"The findings were not encouraging,"
commented Jane Bohman, executive director of the coalition.
"Questionable confessions, plea-bargained testimony from
codefendants, jailhouse snitches and other much-criticized tactics
continue to be used by prosecutors seeking death sentences," she
noted. The study also showed a disturbing pattern of death penalty
cases brought against defendants with serious mental illnesses.
coalition also calculated the staggering costs associated with the
pursuit of the death penalty. "Given that we found that there are
nearly 200 capital cases pending statewide as of January 2004, our
public officials must continue their evaluation of the capital
punishment system and consider effective alternatives to the flawed
Illinois death penalty process," Bohman concluded.
Illinois Coalition Against the Death