Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

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The Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty was founded in 1976 by Mary Alice Rankin following the reinstatement of the death penalty in the state of Illinois. The death penalty was previously invalidated in the US in 1972 by the Supreme Court in the case Furman v Georgia as the use of the death penalty was deemed too arbitrary, which made it a form of cruel and unusual punishment.

Since its inception, ICADP has worked to educate people about the problems with the death penalty: the problem of innocence, the high cost of the death penalty, and the harm the capital punishment system does to victims' families, among others. ICADP has built a strong coalition including the Illinois Bar Association, the ACLU, Amnesty International, the Catholic Conference, the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, the League of Women Voters, and other organizations. Over the years, ICADP has developed strong grassroots support and a comprehensive legislative strategy which, together, ultimately led to the repeal of the death penalty in Illinois.

In March, 2011, after a two-year intensive campaign, ICADP successfully abolished the death penalty in the state and reallocated the funds left over in the capital litigation fund to law enforcement training and services to murder victim family members. The win caused Illinois to become the sixteenth state in the nation to repeal the death penalty, and the fourth to do so within the last five years. [1]

To ensure this national momentum continues, it is imperative that Illinois does not re-introduce the death penalty. ICADP’s work is not finished. Recently members of the Illinois legislature have introduced bills in the General Assembly to reinstate the death penalty in Illinois. ICADP is now focused on fighting off these reinstatement efforts and maintaining a death penalty free state in the years to come.

2010 AGM

The Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty's Annual Meeting took place on Tuesday, July 13th, 2010, at 6 pm at the Illinois State Bar Association Offices, 20 S. Clark St., Suite 900, Chicago.

ICADP honored author and attorney Scott Turow for his "outstanding work toward abolition". ICADP also be honored the "Illinois State legislators who are currently co-sponsoring our abolition bills, including Rep. Karen Yarbrough, Rep. Angelo Saviano, Sen. William Delgado, Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, and Sen. Pamela J. Althoff. Chicago Democratic Socialists of America is an organizational member of the ICADP."[2]

2010/2011 Board of Directors

  • President: Chris Lynch is a lifetime Chicagoan who has been involved in alternative education for almost 18 years. In his work at Jobs For Youth/Chicago, Inc., he has provided GED instruction to some 7,000 economically disadvantaged young people. This work with young people led to an interest in criminal and juvenile justice issues, and cemented his opposition to the death penalty. Chris is currently working to develop special programs for young people with criminal backgrounds, to assist them in overcoming barriers to employment. He is also a photographer and writer whose work has appeared on album covers, in the Chicago Reader , and in Spring Wind magazine. In 2000, his photography show at the Jett Sett Gallery became a benefit for ICADP.
  • Vice-president: Dr. Laura Kunard is a criminologist who works in the realms of law enforcement, homeland security and emergency management. She is the Director of the Center for Public Safety and Justice, Institute on Government and Public Affairs, at the University of Illinois. Prior to her position at CPSJ, she was the founding Director of the Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice at the Adler School of Professional Psychology and the Associate Director of the Institute for Public Safety Partnerships at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is an experienced researcher, grant writer and professor. Her interest in common sense criminal justice policy drives her interest in the death penalty. An ICADP Board member since 2002, Laura recently became the Vice President of the organization and she has been a member of the death row visiting team since 1999. Dr. Kunard earned her B.A. in Sociology and Psychology from Northwestern University, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Criminology from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
  • Secretary: Ina Marks was an Assistant Public Defender from 1976 to 2004. She was a supervisor and trainer in the civil unit that represented parents accused of neglecting or abusing their children. Although she was not involved in capital cases, seeing racism and class bias affect the outcome of her cases led to the strengthening of her previous theoretical approach to the death penalty. When Ina retired in 2004, she began to volunteer for ICADP and actually ran the office during former Executive Director Jane Bohman's maternity leave. She joined the board in 2007 and became Secretary in 2011. She has participated in several Lobby Days with ICADP and is social action co-chair and president of her synagogue. She has written and spoken on Judaism and the death penalty. She is a volunteer at the local affiliate of Interfaith Worker Justice and works on issues of immigrant justice and Muslim/Jewish bridge-building with JCUA.
  • Treasurer: Frank Bernatowicz has been involved with the ICADP since August, 2010. He is the Treasurer and a member of the Executive Committee. Professionally, Frank is a CPA, MBA, PE and founder/owner of FAB Group, Inc. (“FAB”). FAB provides financial advisory services to troubled companies, parties in litigation, and various other corporations, banks, and financial institutions. Frank has a long history in serving charitable organizations. He has been a member of the Board of Regents of Mercy Home for Boys’ and Girls’ since 1990, an organization serving the needs of “throw-away” children. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Newman Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, a Catholic ministry serving the personal, social and spiritual needs of students on campus. Frank became involved with ICADP at the request of Garnet Fay, a neighbor and friend who he has known since 1978.
  • Royal Berg
  • Tom Broderick, a political activist from an early age. He became involved with the abolition movement in 2002 when he first volunteered as a death row visitor. This personal contact made clear the reality that we were condemning human beings to ritualized slaughter. Tom joined ICADP board in 2008 and is also active in the Democratic Socialists for America and has co-chaired the Chicago branch for 4 years.
  • Richard Conser is a patent attorney, formerly employed as a chemical engineer and economist with Universal Oil Products. He has been active in the governance of the United Church of Christ and drafted its Illinois Conference resolution on the death penalty. Richard was formerly trustee, mayor and village attorney of Golf, IL and was president of United Way of Glenview-Golf. He also served as president of Harper House, serving homeless people in Uptown. Richard's interest in the death penalty was inspired primarily by Jack Nordgaard, Donald Benedict, and Mary Powers.
  • Mary Cummins-Enoch sends birthday and Christmas cards to the prisoners on death row, works on finding legal representation for prisoners, and does court watching at post-conviction death penalty hearings at 26th & California and Markham.
  • Maria M. Cunningham is a teacher and mother of three children. Her husband Dick served on the board of the ICADP, and represented a number of men on death row before his untimely death. Maria has a long history of interest and activity in human rights issues, particularly the death penalty. She is a member of Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation.
  • Linda Dienberg has sponsored events promoting abolition in the Lake Street Church and the Evanston Public Library as an advocate of death penalty abolition. Linda also works to support the homeless by volunteering, providing meals and coordinating chuch-based donation opportunities for clients of Connections for the Homeless. She is also a Board Member of Haiti’s Children, Inc. a non-profit providing food, education, medical care and other assistance to Haitian children. Linda is a computer consultant, mother of three and has lived in Evanston for 30 years.
  • Gwen Farry, BVM is a member of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary at 8th Day Center for Justice. Her previous ministries have been in Elementary Education, Hospital Chaplaincy and internal ministry with the BVM congregation. Abolishing the death penalty has been a deep concern for several years. Activities have included writing letters, attendance at the 2004 CEDP National Conference and writing to death row inmates.
  • E. Garnet Fay is a member of the Society of Friends (Quakers) and represents the American Friends Service Committee at the Justice Coalition of Greater Chicago. He serves on the board of the Illinois Conference of Churches and serves as a liaison to these groups.
  • Betty Fields is originally from Ypsilanti, Michigan. After finishing high school, she spent six years in the military and then went to work for General Motors. In 1988 she moved to Normal, IL to help set up the Mitsubishi plant. Her daughter Lorraine Fields was murdered in 2004. It was Betty who discovered her daughter's body in a car in a vacant lot. The prosecutor wanted to give the murderer the death penalty. But Betty insisted from the beginning that she was opposed to that and convinced the State not to seek death. She sends her daughter's murderer cards and has told him that she has forgiven him.
  • Aviva Futorian represented death penalty defendants in post-conviction proceedings and appeals before Governor Ryan commuted all death sentences in Illinois. She helps coordinate the ICADP's death row support and visiting program. She is the ICADP's liaison to the John Howard Association, where she is an officer and board member. She is president of the Long-term Prisoner Policy Project, a "think tank" focusing on problems of long term maximum security prisoners in Illinois; and she is currently working on an oral history and community development project in north Mississippi.
  • Christian Golden
  • Alice Harper-Jones is a life-long resident of Chicago and an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. She is a member of Trinity UCC and currently serving as the social-justice minister at Kenwood UCC. Alice also serves in various UCC leadership positions at the local and Conference levels. She holds a BA from the University of Illinois, an MA from Chicago State University and a MD from Chicago Theological University. Alice serves in various social advocacy organizations.
  • Terrence K. Hegarty has practiced as a trial lawyer since 1970, specializing in representing plaintiffs in catastrophic personal injury cases. He has been active in the Illinois State Bar Association as treasurer, member of the Board of Governors, and President. He has participated extensively in legal seminars and has written widely in legal periodicals.
  • Sarah Heyer, who resides in Carbondale, has been a member of her local Death Penalty Moratorium Committee. She is also active in the Southern Illinois Prisoner Advocacy Committee, making it easier for family and friends to visit inmates in Tamms (the state's "supermax" prison) by providing visitors with breakfast, local transportation, and information (e.g., transportation and lodging options).
  • Charles Hoffman graduated from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1974. He then joined the Peoples Law Office in Chicago, specializing in civil rights and criminal defense work. Since 1986, he has served as an Assistant Defender in the Supreme Court Unit of the Illinois State Appellate Defender, representing indigent defendants in capital cases. He has been lead attorney in 30 death penalty appeals in the Illinois Supreme Court. He has also taught a seminar on capital punishment at DePaul University Law School. In 2002, he received an "Outstanding Legal Services" award from the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.
  • Kelly Huggins
  • Patrick D. McAnany is professor emeritus (1999) of Criminal Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is an attorney (Harvard '60) and taught law at St. Louis University (1965-69) and at UIC and State University of New York at Albany (1978-79). His main research and teaching interests were corrections and juvenile justice, as well as the theory of sanctions. He has served on boards for several ex-offender organizations.
  • Barry Pearce grew up in Chicago and has worked as a teacher, writer, editor and publisher. He coordinated visits to prisoners on death row in Pontiac, Illinois for himself and a group of volunteers. Anyone who would like to donate materials for those visits can contact the ICADP to drop off items to be donated. Accepted donations are legal pads, books, magazines and clear pens.
  • Ethel Robinson has been a long-time visitor for the Coalition to both the Pontiac and Menard death rows. Ethel also served for many years as a teacher for the Cook County Board of Education. She is currently a member of the Long Term Maximum Prisoners Project, a think tank dealing with problems of long term prisoners in Illinois maximum security prisons.
  • Johanna Ryan is co-author of the ICADP's Annual Report on the state of the death penalty in Illinois. She has been prison visitor at all three condemned units in Illinois. Johanna has done extensive anti-death penalty organizing work in many communities throughout the state and continues to research the use of the death penalty in Illinois.
  • JoAn Schullian, OSF is a Hospital Sister of St. Francis and ministers as a Pastoral Associate at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Decatur. She is a founding member of the Macon County Citizens Opposing Capital Punishment. Sister JoAn serves on various Social Justice and Racial Justice Committees in Springfield and Decatur.
  • W. Robert Schultz, III's career as a human rights activist has included disability, peace and justice, and gay rights issues. Robert's current work as field organizer at Amnesty International's Midwest Regional Office links him to the abolition movement in 13 states. Robert is a freelance writer and contributor to the Windy City Times, and BLACKlines, an African-American LBGT magazine he helped to launch.
  • Sandra Shimon is a long-time resident of Oak Park. She is married and has three grown children. She runs her own business, a medical transcription company. Sandra is one of the most active members of the West Suburban Committee Against Capital Punishment. She has been attending all the hearings in the capital case of Ronny Atkins, which arose in Oak Park. She sponsored the first House Party for ICADP. She has been an activist all her life in various causes, including Death Sentence 2001 in River Forest.
  • Rev. Tricia L. Teater is a Soto Zen Buddhist Chaplain and Priest in affiliation with Udumbara Zen Center of Evanston. She is the Director of their national Chaplain Training Program. She has worked in maximum security prisons and on death row in Indiana and Illinois for nearly 10 years, regularly conducting Buddhist meditation services, offering spiritual support and hospice care. She is also on the Advisory Board of the Long Term Prison Policy Project. Tricia is a Volunteer with Horizon Hospice of Chicago specializing in pediatric hospice and palliative care, as well as serving on the Ethics Committee. Tricia is the Director of Human Resources for the Office of Cook County Clerk David Orr.
  • Robin Johnson-Thompkins is a paralegal, mother of three children and co-chair of Families of Inmates on Death Row. Robin is the daughter of former death row inmate Willie M. Thompkins. Robin has been involved in death penalty issues for almost 20 years, and began speaking on these issues publicly over the past few years. She has spoken at various and private events and assisted in the organization of news conferences. She continues to work diligently with various committees to abolish the death penalty.
  • Andrea Wilson is the Program Assistance Manager at the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Prior to that position, Andrea worked for the Illinois Conference of Churches whose mission it was to bring people of faith together to advocate on issues of poverty and racism. Andrea is licensed to practice law in Illinois. She has always had a passion for people whose voices are discounted or not heard at all, particularly regarding the death penalty. Andrea’s husband, Ryan, is an Assistant Defender at the Office of the State Appellate Defender.[3]

Staff

As of 2010;Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag

  • Jeremy Schroeder, Executive Director, is an attorney with an extensive background in nonprofit and public service. He was the deputy legislative director of an 85,000 member union handling their legislative and policy campaigns. Jeremy has extensive experience running legislative and grassroots campaigns on the state and federal level. During his tenure with the union, he was able to win legislation for first-time ever health care, as well as increased wages for the union members. Jeremy is also the volunteer Legislative Coordinator for Amnesty International in the state of Illinois. Through this position, Jeremy has coordinated grassroots lobbying efforts on issues such as abolishing the death penalty, Darfur, and stopping violence against women.

Jeremy Schroederis a graduate of the University of the District of Columbia School of Law, focusing on international law and landlord tenant law. He also holds a degree in electrical engineering from Marquette University. Prior to law school, Jeremy worked in the non-profit sector in roles of advocacy, development, and information technology.

  • Katie Holihen, Organizing Coordinator, joins us for a year of service through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Katie recently graduated from Marquette University with degrees in History, International Affairs, and a minor in Philosophy. Throughout her time at Marquette, she participated in several social justice campaigns and organized with Common Ground, Southeast Wisconsin's community organizing coalition. She will be working closely with Amnesty International throughout the year, organizing student groups to mobilize for abolition.

Coalition members

As of 2010;[4]

  • Benedictine Sisters of Chicago
  • AFSCME Local 3315 Cook County Public Defenders
  • St. Thomas the Apostle Church (Naperville)

References