Anti-Death-Penalty Governor Gets Nobel Nomination
| From: The Campaign to Support the Nomination of George H. Ryan for the Nobel Peace Prize |
Former Illinois Governor George Ryan Nominated For The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize
University of Illinois College of Law Professor Francis A. Boyle has nominated former Illinois Governor George Ryan for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize because of his courageous and heroic opposition to the death penalty system in America.
Despite tremendous opposition and criticism, Ryan single-handedly started what he calls a "rational discussion" on capital punishment in 2000 when he declared the Illinois death penalty moratorium. To this day, despite paying a heavy personal price for his courage, integrity, and principles, Ryan remains committed to the principle of seeking justice for the poor and oppressed. Ryan now takes his message globally, recently speaking before the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Switzerland, continuing to initiate dialogue against the barbaric use of capital punishment around the world.
Directly because of Ryan's imposed 2000 moratorium, a tidal wave of change has gained momentum in the United States. Death sentences are at a 30-year low, while the number of executions has dropped to a 10-year-low. And for the first time in two decades, more Americans now support life sentences over death as the proper punishment for capital crimes. New Jersey's governor signed into law a one-year moratorium on executions due to public demand, and Florida's Governor Bush suspended all executions until methods of execution can be examined in that state. California now has an imposed moratorium, and Ohio's new governor has stated moral questions concerning the use of capital punishment.
The American Bar Association has also now declared that there should be a blanket moratorium on all executions in the United States because of widespread problems with the quality of defense given to poor and indigent capital defendants. As Governor Ryan exposed to the country in 2000, the burden of capital punishment consistently falls upon the poor, the ignorant and the forgotten underpriviledged members of society, and is often used as a racist institution against people of color.
The United States’ attitude towards capital punishment is undeniably changing, and as a direct result of Ryan’s historical acts as former Governor of Illinois. Ryan exposed capital punishment to be a distorted means of justice rife with flaws and defects, and he began the dialogue that will one day abolish capital punishment in America.
Professor Francis A. Boyle has stated that, "George Ryan is the beginning of the end of the death penalty in America," and it is for this reason that he richly deserves to win the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
Joining him on the nomination papers were Chicago Attorneys Karen Conti, Greg Adamski and Jerome Boyle.