Illinois House begins death penalty debate

January 6, 2011

AP Wires

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The Illinois House has begun debate on a repeal of the death penalty.

Former Gov. George Ryan suspended executions in 2000 because 13 condemned men were later exonerated or evidence against them was ruled improper. No one has been executed in Illinois since then.

Proponents of repealing the death penalty say it doesn't deter crime, is expensive and the system is long and tortuous.

Several Illinois prosecutors have voiced support for continued use of capital punishment.

Tazewell County State's Attorney Stewart Umholtz and Peoria County State's Attorney Kevin Lyons have said the effort to eliminate the death penalty is a politically motivated effort to circumvent the will of the people.