I was a resident of Illinois for two years (birth to a bit after age two, before we moved back to Indiana). More than four generations of my mother’s family lived and died – and are buried in Illinois – my parents will lie to rest there, as well.
While scandal tainted his office from the start, Governor Ryan showed a particular amount of character and political courage this week when he pardoned and issued clemency to all members of Death Row.
Granted that this was a bit extreme – the citizens of Illinois did elect him – and this was well within his power to grant. Given the circumstances and information than has been learned about the death sentence in Illinois – he made the right decision – and I shall always admire him for it.
“I’m going to sleep well tonight…”. Even if the exercise of my power becomes my burden, I will bear it. … I sought this office, and even in my final days of holding it, I can’t shrink from the obligations to justice and fairness that it demands. … I’m going to sleep well tonight knowing I made the right decision. -Illinois Governor George Ryan announcing blanket commutation for all Illinois Death Row inmates. For the first time in a very long time, I’m proud of the state (Illinois) I live in. I’m proud, not because of some fleeting sports championship, or some other silly thing, but because of the moral courage of its elected leader, Gov. George Ryan. In the last forty-eight hours, Ryan (R-Kankakee) took the unprecedented steps of pardoning four death row inmates, and granting a blanket clemency to the remaining 164 inmates sentenced to death. [kuro5hin.org]