Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner said on Monday he is seeking to reinstate the death penalty for mass murder and killing a police officer, a move that comes when capital punishment nationwide is at lows not seen for about a quarter century.
Rauner, a Republican, said it would bolster public safety, adding defendants in death penalty cases would be tried using a higher standard for determining guilt. “We are intent on avoiding wrongful convictions and the injustice of inconsistency,” he said.
Faulty prosecutions and a heavily publicized exoneration led then Republican Illinois Governor George Ryan in 2000 to impose a 10-year execution moratorium and in 2011 the state abolished capital punishment.
Even if lawmakers agree, it would be difficult for Illinois to resume executions due to a shortage of lethal injection drugs caused by a sales boycott by major pharmaceutical companies over ethical concerns.
Republican Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker this month told reporters he was in talks with lawmakers about reinstating the death penalty for those who kill law enforcement officers in the state.