Illinois Governor to Speak on Capital Punishment

Yale Law School will host Illinois Governor George H. Ryan, who will give a lecture on “Until I Can Be Sure: Reflections on the Administration of the Death Penalty” at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, April 16, in Room 127.

The talk is sponsored by the Knight Journalism Fellows at Yale Law School.

Ryan, a longtime supporter of the death penalty, is widely known for the moratorium on capital punishment he imposed in Illinois last year. Since Illinois reinstated the death penalty in 1977, 13 of the state’s inmates on Death Row have been exonerated. In January 2000, the governor declared a moratorium on executions and established a commission to review the system of capital punishment in his state.

“Until I can be sure, with moral certainty, that no innocent man or woman is facing a lethal injection, no one will meet that fate,” he said at that time.

Ryan was elected Illinois’s 39th governor in 1998, after serving as secretary of state from 1991 to 1999, and lieutenant governor from 1983 to 1991, following a 10-year legislative career. Since taking office as Governor in January 1999, Ryan has successfully proposed a $12 billion infrastructure program, tax credits for job-creating companies, laws preventing children’s access to guns and tougher sentences for criminals who use guns, an open lands trust initiative, and an HMO patients’ bill of rights.

Ryan’s visit is sponsored by the Knight Journalism Fellows at Yale Law School. The Knight Journalism Fellows are a select group of journalists who are chosen to spend a year at Yale Law School learning about the law in depth, so that they are better able to educate their readers upon their return to journalism. They receive a Master of Studies in Law (MSL) degree on completion of the program.

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