CNN BREAKING NEWS
Latest On Governor George Ryan's Inmate Community
Aired January 11, 2003 - 09:28 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we're going to go back to Chicago now. We have Jeff Flock standing by where Governor George Ryan, the lame-duck governor, I should say, has been deciding on commuting several death sentences there. Jeff, what's the latest now?
JEFF FLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Heidi, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), let's be clear. We are now trying to confirm this with the governor's people, although I don't know we'll be able to do that before the speech. I don't know that they want to have the thunder stolen from the speech.
But what we have learned is that those close to the clemency process have been told by the governor's staff that essentially Governor George Ryan will announce commutations from a death sentence to life in prison for all, essentially all of Illinois's death row inmates, of which there are now, as of today, the new number is 156, after the four pardons yesterday freed four men from death row.
So it now looks like he will go all the way and do all of the commutations. The only people not affected are those convicted of capital crimes not yet sentenced, and those who are now remanded for a new trial. Some on death row have been fighting for new trials. Some have been remanded for those. And they, technically, will not be eligible for commutation either.
And I think those are in some sense technicalities. The governor's not able to do those.
But if what we are being told, or at least what those folks are being told is correct, it will be a large number. Although it's important to say that until we hear this from the governor, not set in stone.
And of course it'll be interesting also to see what sort of actions -- the Cook County prosecutor yesterday said if there was anything he could do to overturn it, and that was not clear what that might be, if there were any technicalities or anything he could do to overturn whatever the governor had done, he would go down that road, because he believes that all of the people convicted and now on death row, including the four yesterday freed, he believes all of them are guilty -- Heidi.
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