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Saying "No" to the Death Penalty

Joey L. Mogul is a partner at the People's Law Office in Chicago and director of the Civil Rights Clinic at DePaul University's College of Law. She is co-author, with Andrea J. Ritchie and Kay Whitlock, of Queer (In)justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States. The commentary excerpted below appeared at the Windy City Times.

Join all three co-authors in celebrating the national launch of Queer (In)Justice at Creating Change, February 2 - 6 in Minneapolis Minnesota http://www.creatingchange.org/! They will be hosting a workshop on policing, prosecution and punishment of LGBT people and developing responses to violence against queers on Friday, February 4 from 10:45 am - 12:15 pm and joining Queers for Economic Justice for an evening reception celebrating QEJ's achievements and the book's publication at 8:30 pm. Both events at the at the Hilton Minneapolis,1001 Marquette Avenue South, see conference signage for room locations.
Kay Whitlock and Joey Mogul will also be appearing at University of Minnesotal-Twin Cities on February 4 from 3:00PM to 5:00PM in Room 609 Social Sciences,and at St. Catherine's Universityfrom 11:30 - 1:00 pm on February 3 at the Department of Sociology/Critical Studies of Race and Ethnicity.

Queerinjustice This past month, both houses of the Illinois General Assembly passed bill SB 3539, which would repeal the death penalty in Illinois. The bill is now awaiting Gov. Pat Quinn's signature. If he signs the bill, Illinois will become the 16th state to repeal the death penalty in the United States and the third to do so in the past three years; it would also take its place alongside 95 countries that have abolished the death penalty.

Quinn has not decided whether he will sign the legislation, and has indicated that he wants to hear from the people of Illinois before making his final decision. Here are the reasons you should make that call urging him to sign the bill.

In addition to repealing the death penalty, the bill would redirect its necessary funding toward services for murder victims' family members and for law enforcement. The funds currently spent on the death penalty are quite significant, particularly in light of the crushing budget crisis we are facing in Illinois. According to the Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (ICADP), more than $100 million in taxpayer money was spent on the death penalty in 2003 alone. It is well known that implementation of the death penalty is far most costly than imprisonment.

The passage of this legislation is the culmination of a mammoth effort led by the ICADP. It follows decades of litigation, investigative journalism and organizing that have uncovered mountains of evidence demonstrating that the death penalty is fatally flawed and beyond repair. (Read more...)