CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, March 18, 2005

Illinois Considers Raising Standard in Capital Cases to "Beyond All Doubt"

TalkLeft has the story here.  A Chicago Tribune editorial in favor of the bill states:  "The Illinois House is considering legislation that would establish a higher burden of proof in capital case sentencing. Judges and jurors in criminal trials would still apply the time-tested standard of guilt 'beyond a reasonable doubt.' But the standard to impose a death sentence would be even higher. Under the legislation, the court would tell jurors that they may impose a death sentence 'if the jury unanimously determines that the evidence leaves no doubt respecting the defendant's guilt.' If jurors had any residual, or lingering, doubts, they would impose a sentence of life in prison.  Given the deeply troubling experience in Illinois, it should be easy for supporters and opponents of capital punishment to agree on this: When the state is going to impose the ultimate, irreversible punishment, there should be no doubt that the person paying for the crime is the one who committed it."  [Mark Godsey]

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