Bill Would Reinstate Death Penalty in Illinois | NBC Chicago
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Bill Would Reinstate Death Penalty in Illinois

Land of Lincoln hasn't put a prisoner to death since Andrew Kokoraleis in 1999

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    An Illinois lawmaker wants the Land of Lincoln to reinstate the death penalty.

    State Rep. John Cabello (R-Machesney Park) late last month introduced legislation -- HB4509 -- which would amend the law put into effect by then-Gov. Pat  Quinn and allow for certain criminals to be put to death.

    "We need a mechanism in place for the criminals who decide to commit a heinous act that results in a violent death," Cabello said in a statement posted to his website. "This legislation is aimed to combat the worst of the worst."

    Illinois hasn't put a criminal to death since 1999's execution of Andrew Kokoraleis. Then-Gov. George Ryan shortly afterward declared a moratorium on the practice, disturbed by evidence that more than a dozen death row prisoners were actually innocent. Quinn in March 2011 signed a bill officially ending capital punishment in Illinois and simultaneously commuted the sentences of 15 prisoners.

    Cabello's legislation wouldn't roll back the legislation to how it was prior to 2011, but would instead limit capital punishment as an option for someone who decides "to take the life of a first responder, child or multiple victims," he said.

    Before becoming a state representative, Cabello was a police officer in South Beloit and a detective in Rockford, according to his biography. The bill's co-sponsors, Edward Acevedo (D-Chicago), Brian Stewart (R-Freeport), and John Anthony (R-Morris), also have backgrounds in law enforcement. Acevedo is currently on the City of Chicago's payroll as a member of the Chicago Police Department.

    The bill on Friday remained with the House Rules Committee, where it's been since Cabello filed it with the House Clerk on Feb. 27.

    Both the Illinois House and Senate are currently controlled by Democrats, making it unlikely the legislation will be fast-tracked, but Gov. Bruce Rauner during his campaign said he was in support of the death penalty.

    Capital punishment is currently legal in 32 states.

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