Supreme Court Looks At Death Penalty
The US Supreme Court is hearing arguments Monday about whether lethal injections violate a constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Attorneys for two Kentucky death row inmates argue the injections cause undue suffering. If the court agrees. Illinois along with 13 other states would have to change their laws before resuming executions.
Executions nationwide are on hold until the Supreme Court rules. Sarah Heyer sits on the board of the Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. She questions whether executions give closure to victims and their families.
"It's more painful for the families to have to be brought back in again and again, where with life without parole you can just put them away and shut the door," said Heyer.
Former Governor George Ryan stayed more than 170 executions before leaving office. and placed a moratorium on the death penalty after more than a dozen inmates were exonerated. According to the FBI- the climb in violent crime the past two years is over. The agency reports violent crime, including murders, rapes and robberies, dropped by nearly 2% between January and June of 2007.
The data shows that violent crime dropped dramatically in cities of a million or more residents.there murders decreased by 6.5% and rapes by 14%. Smaller cities and rural areas, however, saw a slight one percentage point *increase* in violence.