Former Gov. George Ryan revealed a different emotional reaction to the death penalty in a 2010 deposition that recently came to light. At one point, he talked about a former classmate who had asked, “Are you going to kill my son?” At another point, he cited the case of Anthony Porter, who was within 50 hours of execution when a legal technicality saved him. Porter also later turned out to be innocent.
“I turned to my wife and I said, how the hell does that happen?” said Ryan, who in 2003 commuted all death sentences in Illinois to life in prison. “How does an innocent man sit on Death Row for 15 years?”
We know how. Mistakes are made. The criminal justice system is too inaccurate to be entrusted with the awesome power of capital punishment. In recent years, 20 men on Death Row have been freed in Illinois alone.