Daley and Emanuel at odds over death penalty

March 10, 2011

Download Story
(WBEZ/Bill Healey)

Chicago's current mayor and its future one disagree about whether Illinois should have the death penalty.

The mayor has no official say on the death penalty issue. But when asked about it, Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel said he supports Governor Pat Quinn's decision Wednesday to abolish it.

"I'm glad he's doing it. It's the right thing to do," Emanuel said at a cafe on the city's Southwest Side. "Obviously, he thought hard about it."

This position puts Emanuel at odds with Chicago's current mayor, Richard Daley, who has said in the past he supports the death penalty. Daley said Wednesday that his position had not changed, while stressing the need for expanded DNA testing.

"That solves all the human issues, dealing with the witnesses, dealing with police or anyone else," Daley said.

Daley has experience with capital punishment and its flaws. He was Cook County state's attorney in the 1980s, when the office sought death penalty sentences for several men who were later exonerated.