The University of Chicago News Office
May 31, 2002 Press Contact: Sabrina Miller
(773) 702-4195

Is the death penalty broken? Governor Ryan to speak on capital punishment reform

Illinois Governor George Ryan, who made headlines when he instituted the first statewide moratorium on the death penalty, will speak on the death penalty, the moratorium, and capital punishment reform at the University of Chicago Divinity School on Monday, June 3 at 5 p.m.

In January 2000 Ryan made Illinois the first state in the nation to halt executions, pending a review of the process. The effects of this decision continue to spread. This month, Maryland Governor Parris Glendening followed Ryan’s lead, imposing a moratorium on executions until the process was reviewed. And just this week, a group of Illinois attorneys began a push to have all 160 of Illinois’ death row cases commuted to life in prison.

The death penalty has been subject to searching examination in the past, recently and notably last January at a conference on religion and the death penalty at the University of Chicago Divinity School, where Justice Antonin Scalia and Senator Paul Simon debated the justice and wisdom of capital punishment. With his declaration that “Until I can be sure with moral certainty that no innocent man or woman is facing a lethal injection, no one will meet that fate,” Ryan singlehandedly altered the debate about the death penalty in the United States.

Ryan’s talk will take place at Swift Hall in the University of Chicago Divinity School. The talk is free and open to the public and media are invited, though advance registration is requested. For more information and to register, please visit the Call for Reckoning conference web site:

The event is co-sponsored by the University of Chicago and the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. The University of Chicago Divinity School is located at 1025 E. 58th St. on the University of Chicago campus.
Last modified at 09:09 AM CST on Friday, May 31, 2002.

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