* Kurt Erickson believes that Gov. Pat Quinn will sign the death penalty abolition bill this week…
Look for Quinn to sign off [this] week on legislation to abolish the death penalty.
Quinn telegraphed his support for the proposal during a chat with reporters Wednesday.
Supporters of the abolition effort began hearing inklings of a news event surrounding the signing last week. The likely location: Northwestern University, home of the Center on Wrongful Convictions.
* Meanwhile, former Gov. George Ryan talked about his decision to empty death row during a just released deposition. Some excerpts…
* “The families of the victims were just brutal. They threw stuff at me when I stood on the podium and swore at me and, you know, called me all kinds of names when I hadn’t really made up my mind about what I was going to do and told them that,” Ryan said of family members related to victims of crimes.
* At one point Ryan admitted spending as little as 10 minutes on petitions but at another point he said he burned the midnight oil pondering decisions.
* ”How can governors say we’re going to kill these people and then ask a state employee to go down and pull the switch. Who are those people to make that determination?” Ryan says.
* Ryan said he made pardon decisions based on evidence and discussions with staff. “When there was evidence there, I weighed the evidence and came up with what I thought was the best response to that evidence. I never dealt in hypothetical cases, and I don’t want to do it here.” […]
# Ryan said what propelled him to clear out Death Row and offer a slew of pardons before he left office stemmed from the case of Andrew Porter, who was wrongfully imprisoned for 15 years. “I turned to my wife, and I said, how the hell does that happen?” Ryan said of watching the events on the TV news. “How does an innocent man sit on death row for 15 years and gets no relief except for the students of journalism, not law students, students of journalism at Northwestern University? Tell me how that happens. And that piqued my interest, Anthony Porter. And I followed that case right through to commutation of 167 guys. I thought it was 177. Whatever it was. And that’s what triggered me. I still can’t believe it.”
He appeared to blow up when the city attorney linked the timing of Ryan’s moratorium on the death penalty to when the governor was first questioned by authorities concerning the federal probe. […]
But Ryan couldn’t keep quiet. “You’re here to talk to me about the Walden pardon,” he said. “What the hell does my indictment got to do with it?”
A short time later, when the attorney asked again about the criminal investigation, Ryan threatened to leave.
“I’m about ready to walk out of here, and you can do what the hell ever you want to do,” he said. “Send me to jail if you want. I’m not going to put up with that. If that’s — if that’s what you’re here for, and I’m starting to believe that it is.”