News Center

Elsewhere Online twitter Facebook SLS Blogs YouTube SLS Channel Linked In SLSNavigator SLS on Flickr

A Toast To All Who Wrote The Death-Penalty Abolition Story

Publication Date: 
March 09, 2011
Chicago Tribune
Eric Zorn

Professor Larry Marshall received praise from the Chicago Tribune's Eric Zorn for his part in creating an impetus among lawmakers and politicians to abolish the death penalty in Illinois. The story can be found here:

To Rob Warden, who was there at the beginning…

When Gov. Quinn put his signature on a bill today abolishing the death penalty in Illinois, he wrote the final line in a story that in a very real sense began when Warden (right), a former investigative reporter and editor at the Chicago Daily News, co-founded Chicago Lawyer in 1978, shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court had allowed for the reinstatement of capital punishment.

That scrappy, muckraking publication began investigating dubious criminal prosecutions that other local media weren't covering. And in 1982, Warden published his first death-penalty expose, a story that laid out the weak, contradictory evidence against one of the condemned men in a gang of later-exonerated convicts who came to be known as the “Ford Heights Four.”


To Larry Marshall, of course. Marshall was a Northwestern Law Professor who in 1990 volunteered to take up Rolando Cruz's case on appeal. Marshall, now at Stanford University, became the leading voice of abolition in Illinois. He founded Northwestern's Center on Wrongful Convictions and in the early 2000s did more than anyone else to talk Gov. George Ryan into commuting every death sentence in Illinois and declaring a moratorium on executions that continues today….