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Death penalty report     Send a link to a friend

[JAN. 27, 2004]  The Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty is issuing a comprehensive report on the use of death penalty in 2003.

Who: Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty

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.

The 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.

[News release from
Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty]

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