Precedents

January 11, 2003


Declaring the system “broken,” Ryan issued a moratorium on the death penalty in early 2000 and convened a com­mission to study the issue. Its report, released in April 2002, called for a sweeping overhaul of the system. A narrow majority favored abolition.

Just days before leaving office, Ryan granted four outright pardons and commuted the sentences of the state’s 167 remaining death row inmates (12 of whom are pictured above) to life without parole. Ryan was convicted in 2006 on corruption charges tied to his tenure as secretary of state and is currently serving a 6½-year term in federal prison.

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