State legislature in US passes death penalty repeal

The state Senate passed the measure 32-25 Tuesday after the House of Representatives had approved it last week.

Governor Pat Quinn, a Democrat, had previously expressed support for the option of capital punishment for the most heinous crimes. His office late Tuesday would not say if he would sign the repeal into law, the State Journal-Register, the daily newspaper in the capital, Springfield, reported online.

The state has not carried out an execution since a previous governor issued a moratorium 10 years ago, emptying Illinois' death row and commuting all the then-condemned inmates' sentences to life in prison. Since then, 15 more convicts have been condemned to death, but none of those lethal injections has been carried out. The vote cut somewhat across party lines.

The repeal was supported by 28 senators from the left-leaning Democratic Party and four members of the conservative Republican Party while 18 Republicans and seven Democrats opposed the measure. During the debate in the Illinois Senate, some death penalty supporters called for a statewide referendum.

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