SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has abolished the state's death penalty.
The Democrat signed legislation Wednesday abandoning capital punishment, two months after Illinois lawmakers voted to do the same and more than a decade after former Gov. George Ryan imposed a moratorium because of concern that innocent people could be put to death.
Illinois now joins 15 other states that have done away with the death penalty. The new law takes effect July 1.
Ryan imposed the moratorium in 2000, after the death sentences of 13 men were overturned. Ryan also cleared death row before leaving office in 2003 by commuting the sentences of 167 condemned inmates to life in prison.
Quinn has spent the last two months consulting with prosecutors, victims' families, death penalty opponents and religious leaders. Illinois' attorney general was among those asking for a veto, saying safeguards are in place to prevent wrongful executions.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)