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Illinois House moves to reform death-penalty fund

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While the capital defense bar is constantly squealing about how underfunded it is, it appears there have been some very questionable expenditures in Illinois, reports Kevin McDermott in the Post-Dispatch:

An Illinois House committee on Thursday unanimously advanced a bill that would crack down on alleged abuses of a state death penalty defense fund that were catalogued by the Post-Dispatch last fall.

The measure now goes to the full House.

The newspaper reported in September that Illinois' Capital Litigation Trust Fund, a tax-funded pot of money that defense teams can draw from when defending death penalty cases, was paying massive, questionable expenses for private investigators and expert witnesses.

The spending included hundreds of dollars an hour for things such as packing their suitcases and driving to the courthouse. It also found that there was virtually no questioning of investigators' submitted hours, some of which made it appear they were working almost nonstop on each case, seven days a week.

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