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High Court Supports Ryan's Death Sentence Order

By Associated Press

Springfield, IL – The Illinois Supreme Court ruled today that former Governor George Ryan had the power to commute the sentences of everyone on death row before he left office last year. The court found that as governor, Ryan also could commute the sentences of 32 cases that were later challenged by the state attorney general.

The justices say they felt pardons and commutations should be handled individually, rather than the mass fashion Ryan used when he cleared death row. But the justices also held that a governor's pardon power is essentially unreviewable.

Ryan gave commutations to 167 inmates and pardoned four others three years after he halted all executions in Illinois.