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Old 01-03-2003, 11:06 AM
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Default PRB recommends clemency for only 10 inmates

ILLINOIS:Clemency urged for fewer than 10 Illinois inmates--Governor considers commuting all 160 death sentences

A state panel recommended clemency for fewer than 10 of 140 death row inmates who sought commutation of their sentences to life in prison, The Associated Press has learned.

Gov. George Ryan is not bound by the Prisoner Review Board's recommendations on the inmates' cases. He is considering granting clemency for each of the state's 160 condemned inmates before he leaves office January 13.

2 sources close to the board, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity, would not specify how many prisoners were recommended for clemency or identify the inmates.

Ryan halted executions three years ago and called the Illinois death penalty system "fraught with error" after courts
found 13 men on death row had been wrongly convicted since the state resumed capital punishment in 1977.

In October, the board held hearings on clemency petitions filed by more than 140 death row inmates. Ever since, Ryan has been lobbied intensely by death penalty advocates and opponents.

Ryan's office could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Craig Findley, a board member who participated in the hearings and becomes board chairman Wednesday, declined to discuss the board's recommendation.

"What's important here is not what the board recommends, but what the governor ultimately decides," he said. The clemency hearings stretched several days. Dozens of relatives of victims, some toting photographs of their loved
ones, pleaded with the board not to recommend clemency.

Defense attorneys and others speaking on behalf of inmates countered that the capital punishment system in Illinois is so
badly flawed that it cannot be trusted.
(source: Associated Press)
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