CNN BREAKING NEWS
Governor Ryan Expected to Issue Blanket Commutation of Death Sentences
Aired January 11, 2003 - 09:29 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: We want to bring in Kendall Coffey, defense attorney from Miami, now, to weigh in a little bit on this. Hi, Kendall.
KENDALL COFFEY, CNN LEGAL ANALYST (on phone): Hey, good morning.
COLLINS: Tell us what you think about this.
COFFEY: It's sort of mind boggling, because something this sweeping, this dramatic, is, to my knowledge, never been exercised by a governor's pardon powers in this country.
And just as he will be acclaimed by some, because there certainly is a movement around America that manifests increasing doubts about the reliability of our death penalty system, he will also be bitterly, bitterly criticized, not just by prosecutors and police authorities, but, of course, by the family members of victims, who now think that they've been betrayed.
COLLINS: And now we are hearing, as Jeff just said, from one of the victim's lawyers, that he believes all of these people are guilty.
COFFEY: Well, and certainly, and one of the things that is extraordinary about this is that these are not cases where a court has found and suggested that there needs to be a new trial. These are -- this is across the board based upon the governor's view that the death penalty system in Illinois is simply not reliable enough from his perspective. There is no margin for error when it comes to putting someone to death.
And he believes, in a state where 13 death row inmates were found to have been wrongly convicted over the past few decades, that the system in Illinois simply can't be trusted, and he's going to exercise this extraordinary power to prevent these, I gather, 156 men from being executed.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: All right Kendall Coffey, with those analyses, thank you so much, sir. We appreciate your time today.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com