Gov. Pat Quinn would maintain Illinois’ 10-year moratorium on the death penalty while his Republican opponent, state Sen. Bill Brady, would lift it, the two candidates’ campaigns said this week.
Their comments come at the same time as the Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty released the results of a poll it commissioned showing that a majority of Illinois registered voters prefer some penalty other than death for the crime of murder.
The poll also found that fewer than 40 percent of registered voters even know Illinois has a death penalty.
“We really view the results as verifying what we already knew,” said Jeremy Schroeder, executive director of the coalition. “People assume there is a slight preference (for capital punishment). That’s not reality.”
Quinn’s campaign said the governor has no “immediate plans” to lift the moratorium on executions that was put in place by then-Gov. George Ryan in 2000. Both ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Quinn have maintained it.
“Although he supports capital punishment when applied carefully and fairly, he is deeply concerned by the possibility of an innocent man or woman being executed,” campaign spokeswoman Mica Matsoff said in a statement. “He believes the current moratorium gives the state an opportunity to reflect on the issue and create safeguards to make sure that the death penalty is not being imposed improperly in Illinois.”