News Release ~ 03/09/2011

Defense Lawyers Praise Governor For Ending Illinois’ Death Penalty

Washington, DC (March 9, 2011) – In response to today’s historic event in Illinois ending the death penalty for state crimes, the President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), Jim E. Lavine, issued the following statement of thanks to Gov. Patrick Quinn: 

On behalf of more than 10,000 members of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the 40,000 members of our affiliate organizations across the country and around the world, I want to personally thank and congratulate Governor Patrick J. Quinn for his crucial and decisive action today.’ 

As our members who defend those accused of capital crimes know all too well, and the People of Illinois have recognized, the death penalty is brutal, costly, and carries the intolerable risk of execution of the innocent. Life imprisonment, by contrast, protects the public just as well, if not better than capital punishment, and is much less expensive. Life imprisonment also allows for the possibility of exoneration of the wrongfully-convicted before their lives are cut short. 

Governor Quinn’s action today shows true compassion and courage. The state has been relieved of a great burden.

Lavine sent a letter to Gov. Quinn Feb. 22 advising him that NACDL’s Board of Directors voted unanimously in support of eliminating the death penalty in Illinois. NACDL is a founding member of the National Coalition Against the Death Penalty and the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, coalitions of non-profits, bar associations and others opposed to capital punishment.

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's approximately 10,000 direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.

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