Obama Passed Death Penalty Overhaul Package.
Obama was the chief co-sponsor and voted for bill creating the Capital Punishment Reform Study Committee Act. Obama was the chief co-sponsor and voted for bill overhauling the death penalty in Illinois. The proposal was approved nearly unanimously. The bill would let judges rule out a death sentence for someone convicted solely on the testimony of a jailhouse informant, accomplice or single witness; let the state Supreme Court overturn a death sentence that was "fundamentally unjust.; Reduce the crimes eligible for the death penalty by focusing on "inherently violent" offenses; Expand defendants' access to genetic evidence used against them; Ban police officers from the police force if they committed perjury in a murder case; and Require juries to consider a defendant's history of abuse or mental illness when deciding whether to impose the death sentence. [93rd GA, SB 0472; 4/3/03, 3R P; 57-1-0; 5/29/03, HA1 SC; 56-3-0; 11/5/03, OAV P; 58-0-0; P.A. 93-0605, 11/25/03; Pantagraph, 4/4/03; Associated Press, 4/24/03]
Obama Passed Law To Require Videotaped Interrogations In Capital Cases.
Crafted from one of the findings of the Death Penalty Moratorium Commission of former Gov. Ryan, Obama was the chief sponsor and voted for a bill requiring the electronic recording of all homicide interrogations, conducts a police officer training program, and provides grants to local law enforcement agencies for the purchase of necessary equipment. A Chicago Tribune Editorial said, "Never underestimate the power of a good idea. Around the country, an impressive number of police chiefs and political leaders are warming to proposals to require the videotaping of police interrogations – a measure almost guaranteed to reduce the number of false confessions... Making a record that proves the confession was not coerced would go far toward reducing this shameful roster...The sponsor, Sen. Barack Obama, has made serious efforts in recent weeks to meet with the state's major law enforcement groups and accommodate most of their concerns... This isn't really about money, though. It's about old, entrenched institutions resisting change. Let's hope the Illinois Senate does not turn out to be one of them." Obama said, "I think the videotaping of interrogations and confessions is both a tool for protecting the innocent as well as a tool for convicting the guilty." [93rd GA, SB 0015, 4/3/03, 3R P; 58-0-0; P.A. 93-0517, 8/12/03; 93rd GA, HB 0223, 5/15/03, 3R P; 58-0-0; P.A. 93-0206, 7/18/03; Chicago Tribune, 3/4/03; Chicago Tribune, 7/18/03]
Obama Passed Bill For Racial Profiling Law In Illinois, Was Praised For His Fight.
Obama was the chief sponsor and voted for racial profiling Bill that requires law enforcement to record the race, age, and gender of all drivers they stop for traffic violations, to be analyzed by IDOT for evidence of racial profiling and then sent to the Governor. Bill also incorporated the racial and ethnic sensitivity training for all law enforcement personnel. The Chicago Defender wrote, "The African-American community should be proud of Obama and Rev. Paul Jakes, pastor of the West Side's Old Saint Paul Church, for their fight to end racial profiling...State Senator Barack Obama (D-Chicago) led the fight in Springfield for passage of the Bill, which among other things will identify arrests and stops of minority citizens in mostly white neighborhoods." [93rd GA, SB 0030; 4/3/03, 3R P; 58-0-0; P.A. 93-0209, 7/18/03; 93rd GA, HB 0361, 4/3/03, 3R P; 58-0-0; House Total Veto Stands, 11/6/03; Chicago Defender, 1/8/04]