May 30, 2010: Death penalty debate

June 1, 2010 9:50:59 AM PDT
This week NewsViews will have a mini-debate on Illinois' death penalty moratorium, after the tragic killing of Officer Wortham.

Since the suspects allegedly killed him while committing another felony--trying to steal his motorcycle--if convicted, they are eligible for the death penalty. But even if prosecutors seek it, Illinois stopped executing people 10 years ago.

Our guests are Lake County State's Atty. Mike Waller, who was a member of Gov. Ryan's Commission on capital punishment. He is now a member of the Capital Punishment Reform Study Commission, and he favors the death penalty.

Opposing it is Betsy Wilson, a criminal defense attorney, lecturer, and author. She is a partner in the Sentencing Advocate Group of Evanston, and an executive committee member of the National Alliance of Sentencing Advocates.

The issues are: should we maintain the moratorium, or resume capital punishment, or abolish the death penalty, as 15 states and the District of Columbia have done. One of the non-death penalty states is our neighbor, Wisconsin.