Last updated on: 11/10/2008 | Author:

George Ryan Biography

Former Governor of Illinois
Con to the question "Should the Death Penalty Be Allowed?"

“Because our three year study has found only more questions about the fairness of the sentencing; because of the spectacular failure to reform the system; because we have seen justice delayed for countless death row inmates with potentially meritorious claims; because the Illinois death penalty system is arbitrary and capricious – and therefore immoral – I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death…

Because of all of these reasons today I am commuting the sentences of all death row inmates. This is a blanket commutation.”

Speech given at Northwestern University College of Law, Jan. 11, 2003

Theoretical Expertise Ranking:
Individuals with MDs, JDs, PhDs, or equivalent advanced degrees in fields relevant to death penalty issues. Also top-level government officials (such as foreign leaders, US presidents, Founding Fathers, Supreme Court Justices, members of legislative bodies, cabinet members, military leaders, etc.) with positions relevant to death penalty issues.
Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Governor of Illinois, 1999-2003
  • Secretary of State, Illinois, 1991-1999
  • Lieutenant Governor, Illinois, 1983-1991
  • State Representative, Illinois House, 1972-1983
  • Chairman, Kankakee County Board, 1968-1973
  • Attended, Ferris State College of Pharmacy
  • Mr. Ryan is serving a 6-1/2 year sentence for corruption since Nov. 7, 2007.
Quoted in:
  1. Is the Death Penalty Immoral?
  2. Should the Death Penalty Be Abolished or Paused Because of the Alleged Possibility of an Innocent Person Being Executed?