Prosecutors fear losing death penalty in Illinois -

Prosecutors fear losing death penalty in Illinois

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) -- Prosecutors across Illinois worry that Gov. Pat Quinn could make their jobs harder if he agrees to sign a measure that would outlaw capital punishment.

Many states' attorneys value the death penalty -- or merely the threat of it -- as a bargaining chip in getting guilty pleas from suspects who opt for life in prison. Prosecutors worry that without that tool, there'll be more trials because defendants facing only the prospect of life behind bars would be less inclined to deal.

And prosecutors believe the death penalty is simply warranted in certain murders they consider particularly heinous.

Advocates pressing Quinn not to sign the measure he's had since last month say the prospect of executing an innocent man is grounds enough to get rid of the death penalty.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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