Today state’s attorneys’ are responding to Governor Rauner’s proposed plan to bring back the death penalty in the state of Illinois. The Governor said capital punishment would be issued to mass murders, people who kill two or more people or people who kill police officers. He also said the death penalty would only be used if there was no doubt whatsoever the person committed the crime.
“Juries already apply a very high standard, a very high burden for the state to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Tazewell County State’s Attorney Stewart Umholtz. “I can’t imagine how we would reach a verdict of beyond all doubt, I’m not even sure that’s possible.”
Umholtz also expressed distaste for the way the proposition was brought up. He said that a legislation like this requires a process including public input. He went on to say that for the Governor to bring this up abruptly, it alludes to the fact that this may be a political scheme.
However, other attorney’s in the area are more focused on the death penalty itself. Bloomington Attorney Steven Skelton said he was overjoyed when capital punishment was initially abolished it, he believed it brought a sense of civility to the state.
“There’s still the very real possibility of wrongful convictions and wrongful executions occurring,” said Skelton. “I would not want to see a replay of any of that in the forward looking history of Illinois.”
Rauner used his amendatory veto powers to bring up the proposal but it cannot become law without a fresh round of votes by the lawmakers.