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Sunday, January 12, 2003

Illinois joins the civilized world: Outgoing governor George Ryan commuted the death sentences of the remaining 167 people on Illinois' death row to life or less, one day after fully pardoning four others.

"The facts that I have seen in reviewing each and every one of these cases raised questions not only about the innocence of people on death row, but about the fairness of the death penalty system as a whole," Governor Ryan said this afternoon. "Our capital system is haunted by the demon of error: error in determining guilt and error in determining who among the guilty deserves to die."

Hopefully this leads to the clearing of death rows everywhere. (It will probably be necessary to clear the governor's mansion in Florida before anything happens there.) Then we can move on to fixing the many other injustices in our penal system.