Welcome

Thank you for visiting paducahsun.com, the online home of The Paducah Sun.

Calendar
June 2012
S M T W T F S
27 28 29 30 31 01 02

Click here to submit an event.

Ex-Illinois governor emerges and talks about death penalty

KANKAKEE, Ill. - George Ryan, an ex-Illinois governor and now an ex-convict, says he'd like to re-engage with the cause he left behind when he went to prison in 2007 - campaigning for the end of the death penalty in the U.S.

"Americans should come to their senses," Ryan said this week, in an hourlong interview with The Associated Press at his kitchen table.

Newly free to speak after a year of federal supervision that followed his more than five years in prison for corruption, Ryan appeared to have recovered some of his old voice and feistiness, in contrast to the subdued figure that emerged a year ago from the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., and ducked briefly into a Chicago halfway house.

At his home in Kankakee, south of Chicago, the 80-year-old Republican held forth on capital punishment, the state of American politics and the criminal justice system - though not the difficult details of his own corruption case.

He said he'd like to spend some time on the national circuit to encourage other states to follow Illinois' lead in abolishing capital punishment in 2011, which stemmed from Ryan's decision to clear death row in 2003.

While he was treated as a champion by death penalty opponents at the time, he acknowledged some public figures now may have trouble openly associating with him.

"I'm an ex-convict," he said. "People tend to frown on that."

Ryan, who was governor from 1999 to 2003, was indicted in 2003 and convicted in 2006 on multiple corruption counts, including racketeering and tax fraud. He said he does not plan to discuss the details of the criminal case - to which he always maintained his innocence - though he might in an autobiography he is writing.

Ryan hasn't apologized for actions that prosecutors and jurors deemed criminal.

"I spent five years in apology," he said, bristling. "I paid the price they asked me to pay."

He also lashed out at the U.S. justice system, calling it "corrupt" and bluntly contending that the fervor with which he was prosecuted was due in part to his nationally prominent campaign to end the death penalty.

"It put a target on my back when I did what I did," he said, adding that even prison guards derided and mocked him. "It certainly didn't win me any favor with the federal authorities."

It's unclear whether Ryan's re-emergence on the public scene will be welcomed. But at least one former federal prosecutor balked at Ryan's contention that he may have been singled out because of his death penalty stance.

"It's absurd," said Jeff Cramer, a former U.S. attorney in Chicago, noting four of Illinois' last seven governors have gone to prison. "It wasn't his political stand that made him a target. It is what he did ... He's trying to rewrite history."

Comments made about this article - 0 Total

Comment on this article

Your comment has been submitted for approval
captcha 3ef6a9a7429e46cfba564d1da23d5ae5
Top Classifieds
  • F1 Golden Doodles M/F, Beautiful,6 wk ... Details
  • CKC Tiny Toy Poodles270-554-4308 Details
  • Rottweiler Pups For Sale with or with ... Details
  • ASPHALT & CONCRETE REPAIR, SEALIN ... Details
  • PILLOWTOP Mattress Sets, NEW in plast ... Details
  • MJS Concrete Specializing In:Stamped ... Details
  • RUNNING, fixable, junk vehicles, equi ... Details
  • Details
  • NEW 50x60 steel bldg. equipped w/12x1 ... Details
  • SEEING is believing! Don't buy p ... Details
  • 8 Unit Apt. Bldgs. For Sale By Owner ... Details
  • Corner Lot, 1 acre Kevil $16,500 2704 ... Details
  • Duplex By Owner 3 BR 1 BA each side ... Details
  • 1963 Chev. Bel-Air, 2 dr post, 327 5 ... Details
  • JOE'S BACKHOESERVICE Install &am ... Details
  • Mini camper just for 2. 270-205-0119 Details
This Week In Photos
Most Popular
  1. Look out, below!
  2. Newcomb wins 2nd straight pro title
  3. Inconvenient facts about Kentucky's economy
  1. Minimum wage increases weigh on youths' summer job prospects
  2. Obama wants bigger cuts at power plants
  3. Newcomb wins 2nd straight pro title
  1. Look out, below!
  2. Newcomb wins 2nd straight pro title
  3. Inconvenient facts about Kentucky's economy
Discussion

Check out these recently discussed stories and voice your opinion...