Your Reaction to Illinois Governor George Ryan’s Commuting the Sentences of 167 Condemned Men?

Week of January 22, 2003

Rachel Harris
Cashier, Holly's Café, Warrenton
"I thought it was crap! They did the crime, they should pay for it -- and if paying for it means they should die, they should've thought about that before they did it. So now they'll be in prison for the rest of their natural lives and not work, not do nothing, just lift weights, watch TV and have a good time -- all on the taxpayer dollar? They should all be put to death, as intended."

Reverend Norman C. Sloan
Retired Methodist Minister
"I felt good about that decision because I don't think the state ought to have the right to take a life. However, I think Governor Ryan probably did it for the wrong reason. And whether his motives are pure or whether he's trying to divert attention for wrongdoing while in office, history will judge him -- possibly harshly."

Eric Stute
Painting Contractor
"I guess I didn't know what kind of statement he was trying to make by doing that. I just thought it was a bold move. I'm not completely against reducing the sentences, but I do see the frustration of the families who thought these killers were going to die. It probably stunned them that this governor let them off the hook. Maybe that's why it didn't matter so much to me, because I don't know any murder victims."

Sunyatta Marshall
Bartender, Black Thorn Pub
"Incredibly liberal, I thought. But if you have a policy where police torture people to get their confession and put them on death row, you've got an unfair system. In smaller groups, like a village of a couple hundred people, then it makes sense -- you've got a murderer, you get rid of him somehow. But when you've got the state deciding these things, it seems like they wield too much power to know how to use it properly."

Kevin Harris
Cook, Radisson Hotel
"I was, like, great! because of all the incidents where innocent people have been convicted -- and it's been proventhey were innocent! As they say, better for ten guilty men to go free than for one innocent man to hang. Put it this way: Being a black man growing up in the 'hood, I know that lots of times the police just want to put cases down. They can't get the real bad guy, they finger whoever's convenient."

Jennifer Hammond
Sophomore, Brentwood High School
"It was very generous, and I was surprised, because I didn't think anybody would do that. But it's good because now those prisoners, all convicted murderers, have more time to suffer and take in what they've done instead of being allowed to take the easy way out."

 
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