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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 2000

Governor Ryan Addresses the ABA on the Condition of the Illinois Death Penalty System

ATLANTA, GA -- Governor George H. Ryan told the American Bar Association Conference "Call to Action: A Moratorium on Executions" that the Anthony Porter case was one of the pivotal moments in deciding his position on the death penalty. Ryan called it a case that "changed the way I view the system of capital punishment."

Governor Ryan offered praise to Professor David Protess and the Northwestern University Law students for their efforts to uncover new information that secured Mr. Porter's freedom.

Governor Ryan said Porter's case, the twelve other death row exonerations and the Chicago Tribune investigation left him with only one choice.

"In my heart, I knew I couldn't go forward. I couldn't live with myself," Governor Ryan said. How on earth could we have come so close - again, and again, and again 13 times - putting fatal doses of poison into the bodies of innocent people strapped to gurneys in our state's death chamber. It was clear to me that when it came to the death penalty in Illinois, there was no justice in the justice system."

Ryan reiterated his stance that until he can be sure with "moral certainty that no innocent man or woman is facing a lethal injection, no one will meet that fate."

In March, Governor Ryan appointed a 14-member commission, chaired by former federal Judge Frank McGarr and co-chaired by former Sen. Paul Simon and former U.S. Attorney Thomas Sullivan, to begin a comprehensive review of the death penalty in Illinois.



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