On Friday, a ban that Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law in March took effect. It’s a quiet last chapter to the story of capital punishment in Illinois, which captured the attention of the world in 2000 when then-Gov. George Ryan imposed a moratorium. Ryan cleared death row entirely three years later.
After Ryan commuted the sentences of 167 death row inmates to life, prosecutors continued to seek the death penalty as they waited to see whether the moratorium imposed by Ryan would be lifted. Quinn has already commuted the sentences of the 15 men on death row to life in prison without parole.
Illinois has executed 12 men since 1977 when the death penalty was reinstated, the last one in 1999.