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Opposition emerges to Rauner AV

Monday, May 14, 2018

* JB Pritzker…

“Bruce Rauner hijacked a commonsense gun safety bill that he could’ve signed into law to play politics. I disagree with repealing the ban on the death penalty, but we should be able to have that debate without derailing efforts to keep children and families safe from gun violence. Illinoisans need a governor who will put people over politics and work tirelessly to end the senseless violence in our communities. I will be that leader.”

* Chicago Tribune editorial

Politicians up for election hunt everywhere for voter support, so very few proposals cause us to do spit takes. But Rauner’s bring-back-the-death-penalty cry comes close. The death penalty issue in Illinois was examined and debated for years in light of notorious incidents of wrongly convicted defendants sent to death row. In Illinois, the legitimate sentiment of many that certain heinous criminals should be put to death was weighed against the risk of errors, and the decision was made to end capital punishment.

Now comes Rauner, facing two political challenges: his governor’s race against Democrat J.B. Pritzker and his need to re-establish bona fides with disgruntled conservative Republicans. Maybe he hopes to attract some Democratic voters with elements of his hydra-headed rewrite, such as the waiting period for all firearms purchases. Meanwhile, the death penalty idea looks like a paean to conservatives. Rauner narrowly defeated a primary challenge from the right by Jeanne Ives, and he may never win those Republicans back on the issue of opposition to abortion, given his support for expanded abortion funding. So he’ll get tough on crime. That message will look good on a downstate billboard.

Rauner addresses the specter of executing an innocent person by proposing a higher standard of determining guilt in capital cases. A court would need to find the defendant guilty “beyond all doubt,” versus the standard determination of “beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said. Rauner’s proposal is a standard that’s been kicked around in the past and may have validity if the issue of juror certainty had been the narrow focus of the death penalty debate. But that’s not what ended the death penalty in Illinois. The crucial question was this: Could Illinois assure its citizens that the state would only execute the guilty?

The answer was no, and nothing has changed to make Rauner’s Monday announcement worthy of consideration. We hope the General Assembly will override his veto.

* And if you thought that was harsh, check out the Chicago Sun-Times editorial

If some emotionally disturbed goof in Illinois buys an AR-15 rifle and turns around and shoots a lot of people, it’s on you, Gov. Bruce Rauner.

You had a chance to sign a bill creating a 72-hour “cooling off” period between the time a person buys a military-style assault weapon and when he or she can take it home. But on Monday you did your best to kill the bill.

We know, Governor. You didn’t technically kill the cooling off period. And when you campaign for reelection this summer among moderate suburban Republicans, you can say just that without strictly telling a lie.

But in your amendatory veto on Monday, you loaded up the bill with so many major new provisions that there is no way the Legislature will give it their seal of approval.

And you knew that. That was the game.

* Related…

* Political expert: Rauner’s proposal to reinstate death penalty harks back to law-and-order era: “I think in some ways it harks back to the ’60s and ’70s, when political leaders at both the federal and the state level were rushing to make more and more things capital crimes … and all of that was part of the whole law-and-order era,” Jackson said.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

26 Comments
  1. - DuPage Saint - Monday, May 14, 18 @ 10:57 pm:

    Governor Rauner is a sad joke. The death penalty should be off the table for so many reasons. the cost alone from trial to execution should make conservatives wince. Life without parole is no picnic and probably cheaper. And if a mistake at least you don’t have to dig them up to apologize.
    The death penalty probably is not a deterrent unless done quickly. So unless you want to have a trial and execute in a year or two probably not a factor. Really if punishment was a thought life in a cell probably worse than a needle.


  2. - Ok - Monday, May 14, 18 @ 11:41 pm:

    Rewrite to do …. ????


  3. - dbk - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 12:48 am:

    I seriously doubt whether the gov came up with this perfect Catch-22 AV on his own. As to who did come up with it, that would make an interesting investigative project.

    Sounds more like a rewrite than an AV, as others have suggested. Designed to kill the bill while appearing tough on crime; thus, a trap.

    Sometimes you have to wonder whether the gov (and more importantly, those who think stuff like this up) knows what year it is, or what state he’s governing. I suspect the poll results in the previous post pretty well represent the people of Illinois’s views - and all the reasons why the death penalty was done away with (possibility of error, cost, racial bias, ineffectiveness as deterrent, religious reasons, none of which has ceased to obtain).

    But then, re-instating the death penalty isn’t the point of the AV.


  4. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 6:08 am:

    What is the mechanism to get to “beyond all doubt”? An end to bogus confessions? No more jailhouse snitches? Banning junk science from the courtroom? I would think those things woykd have to be in the AV too.


  5. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 7:01 am:

    Not only should the death penalty be brought back to punish these mass killers, it should be death penalty by firing squad.


  6. - Henry Francis - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 7:45 am:

    If the Trib won’t even carry his water on this, who will? Durkin? That’s it?

    The poor guy just keeps looking more and more desperate and craven with each passing day. He is gonna be such a mess by the time we get to Election Day.


  7. - 19th ward guy - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 7:58 am:

    So two months in and we know two things- J.B. is for a tax increase and against the death penalty for cop killers. Two political losers. Next up/property tax increase to fun public pensions?


  8. - Ron - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 8:05 am:

    JB, at what rates do you intend to tax cop killers?


  9. - Demoralized - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 8:33 am:

    ==JB, at what rates do you intend to tax cop killers?==

    In the ranking of dumb comments this one is right up there.


  10. - wordslinger - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 8:34 am:

    Some of you are really missing the point of Rauner’s actions.

    Rauner did not propose and have his GA allies introduce a death penalty bill. I can’t recall on him ever raising the issue as a candidate or governor.

    He took a gun control bill on waiting periods and bump stocks and rewrote it to add language about the death penalty.

    A second-week intern in Springfield knows that’s a poison-pill designed to kill the entire bill. Even the tronc edit board sees the cynical, political play.


  11. - unspun - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 8:41 am:

    Rauner: Symbols>Substance

    At what point in the fourth year of a Governor’s term does that Governor learn to propose a policy that is actually passable?

    With Rauner, it’s almost never about the policy, and almost always about the politics.

    We need someone that will govern.


  12. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 8:43 am:

    ==Not only should the death penalty be brought back to punish these mass killers, it should be death penalty by firing squad.==
    It seems that for the mass killers suicide or suicide by cop is the reward. It seems to be the whole purpose of mass killings, to be a martyr. So anonymous, I doubt you want the mass killers to be rewarded. Won’t we get more mass killings if we reward them?


  13. - Nick Name - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 8:52 am:

    It says a lot about pro-lifers that the best way to win them back is to promise more death.


  14. - Arsenal - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 9:05 am:

    ==J.B. is for a tax increase==

    On himself. Not me. I dunno about you. If you’re so wealthy that a progressive tax will cost you a couple more bucks, then good job!


  15. - Rabid - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 9:17 am:

    Death penalty number 46 on the turnaround agenda right after procurement


  16. - Dee Lay - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 9:24 am:

    When both Chicago edit boards are in total agreement, you might be on the wrong side there brucey boy.


  17. - wordslinger - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 9:24 am:

    Can anyone make a “reasonable” distinction between “beyond all reasonable doubt” and “beyond all doubt?”

    Is Rauner claiming to take “unreasonable doubts” off the table in deliberations? That’s a safeguard? “I ran over a squirrel on the way here, so I think he might not have done it?”

    It’s nonsensical semantics in his cynical game.


  18. - Dr. M - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 9:34 am:

    Rauner is terrible at politicking. The AV reads like his “policy advisors” showed him some polling data on vaguely-related topics and then said, “Here, try to incorporate as much of this into your AV as possible.”

    I feel embarrassed for him.


  19. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 9:53 am:

    The rewrite helps Rauner.

    The rewrite makes no sense to the idea of the death penalty or what criteria would factor in, as the simple solution is neither.

    Rauner gets to embrace the Trump voters with this without saying or acknowledging Trump wholesale.

    Father Pfleger is helping already.


  20. - Dr. M - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 9:56 am:

    I think it is entirely fair to ask why the life of my child, if she is murdered walking home from school, is less valuable than the life of a police officer who assumes a higher level of risk than a civilian when they choose the occupation. Or, what about a doctor, nurse, or a school teacher who is murdered? Are their lives less valuable than those of police officers? Is their work less valuable to the community? Who decides? Murder is murder. Period. It is just as heinous when a police officer is killed in the line of duty as it is when a child is shot in a park, or a woman is beat to death by her boyfriend.

    I’d also like clarification on what qualifies as a “mass murder” in the governor’s mind. Are we going with the FBI’s definition of 4 or more people with “no cooling off period” (which almost always ends in the perpetrator being shot and killed by the policy anyway)? Is the death penalty applied in such a way supposed to have a deterrent effect? Do people who kill police officers and commit mass murder engage in a rational calculus based on the potential punishment for their actions weighed against how much they “want” to murder a cop or a crowd of people? Or is this pure retribution our so-called criminal justice reform gov seems to be championing?

    Not only is this bad, non-sensical policy, it is politically stupid. Rauner is done.


  21. - Juice - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 10:27 am:

    Dr. M, the Governor’s AV defines a mass murder as killing 2 people or more.


  22. - anon2 - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 10:34 am:

    JB will be able to quote the Trib to refute Rauner’s claims that he wanted the waiting period. If the Trib isn’t a reliable source for a Republican, what is?


  23. - Dr. M - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 11:19 am:

    Thanks, Juice. That’s even stranger! There’s no agreed-upon definition of a mass murder, but two seems like an odd cut-off point to me. So, a person commits armed robbery and ends up shooting and killing the store clerk and is sentenced to 25-to-life (or whatever it is). But another person mows down two pedestrians with their vehicle and they get the death penalty? What’s the logic in this? Why not impose the death penalty for all cases of murder, then? Oh wait, Illinois had this debate in 2011 and decided that the death penalty served no real purpose except to quench a small swath of the public’s thirst for vengeance.


  24. - James Knell - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 12:40 pm:

    I bet Rauner comes out against Welfare Queens and Drug Pushers next.


  25. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 1:46 pm:

    - Nick Name - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 8:52 am:

    It says a lot about pro-lifers that the best way to win them back is to promise more death

    Beyond all doubt is an impossible illegal standard…and legally ridiculous.


  26. - Mama - Tuesday, May 15, 18 @ 5:06 pm:

    “Illinoisans need a governor who will put people over politics and work tirelessly to end the senseless violence in our communities. I will be that leader.”

    How can a man become a leader when he claims “not to be in charge”? The social program directors will vouch that Rauner never puts people over politics.


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