Governor Bruce Rauner has vetoed legislation intended to prevent wrongful convictions.
The bill would have regulated the testimony of so-called jailhouse snitches. In cases involving murder, sexual assault, or arson, defense attorneys would have gotten advance notice, and judges could block the informant’s testimony.
John Hanlon, with the Illinois Innocence Project at the University of Illinois Springfield, says when Illinois had a death penalty, false informant testimony was the leading cause of wrongful convictions.
“There is actually one fellow in a downstate county — and I’m not using his real name — who was referred to as ‘Father Jones,’ because, ‘Oh, everybody confesses to him,’” Hanlon says.
Rauner’s veto message echoed the concerns of prosecutors, who claim the legislation would have kept them from doing their jobs — and prevented juries from hearing evidence.