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Death Penalty Legislation Notes

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Here are a few notes on death penalty legislation around the country:

Illinois:  Republican legislators Kirk Dillard and Dennis Reboletti are calling on the governor to veto the repeal bill and also for a referendum to let the people vote on the issue, Patrick Yeagle reports in the Illinois Times.  Attorney General Lisa Madigan, a Democrat, has responded to a request from the governor by urging him to veto the bill.  Eric Zorn of the Tribune is surprised, disappointed, and snarky, but he does reprint the letter in full here.  Jim Suhr of AP has this article on prosecutors' reactions to a possible repeal.

West Virginia:  Tuesday there was a public hearing on restoration of the death penalty in that state.  Action this year is unlikely, but the effort could build momentum for next year.  (Tough crime bills are more likely to pass in even-numbered years, for some reason.)

Montana:  The State Senate passed a death penalty repeal bill, as it did in 2009.  The 2009 bill did not make it out of committee in the House.  AP story here.

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Zorn is a dim bulb. There was a particularly gruesome murder spree (the Brown's Chicken murders), and one or two holdout jurors prevented a death sentence. Zorn crowed that since the Brown's Chicken murderer didn't get death that it would be unfair for anyone else in Illinois to be sentenced to death. (The unstated assumption, of course, is that unjustified mercy given to one criminal by the actions of one or two jurors overrides the will of the entire state because we can't have unfairness as between murderers.)

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