A big mistake in the Prairie State

Published 7:02 pm Sunday, May 20, 2018

In the book, “The Verdict is In,” I detail why the modern administration of the death penalty is clearly untenable.  The five main reasons are:

1. The high financial cost to taxpayers who fund death penalty prosecutions

2. The inefficient bureaucratic administration of the death penalty runs counter to the values of limited government

3. The delay of justice for victims and society after waiting 20 plus years for an execution to take place

4. It does not serve as the slightest deterrent to violent crime

5. The risk that someone — innocent or not guilty — will be executed.

In 2011, Illinois abolished capital punishment. However, last week, Republican Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner said that he was seeking to reinstate the death penalty for mass murder and killing a police officer.  He wants to create a category of homicide called “death penalty murder,” which could apply to adults who kill police officers or more than one person. Guilt must be determined “beyond all doubt,” rather than the Constitutional “reasonable doubt” requirement. 

I can understand why some people would like to see the death penalty reinstated in any state that has abolished it. When a family sees a mass murder, the emotional response naturally turns toward vengeance and strong justice. Some people kill so heinously that only death seems to constitute an appropriate response from society.  Additionally, the administration of the death penalty by society is Biblically sound.

But, laws based on logic and facts serve our people profoundly better than laws passed based on emotions or for political reasons. I don’t expect the people of the Prairie State to ever see the death penalty brought back to life. I also don’t expect to see Gov. Bruce Rauner taking the oath of office again next year.

Jason Swindle is a criminal defense attorney at Swindle Law Group