Thursday, January 20, 2011

From death row to hero

The following article was written by Bill Clutter, director of investigations at the Downstate Illinois Innocence Project at the University of Illinois Springfield. It was published in a January 20, 2011, edition of the Illinois Times.

"At the State Capitol, former death row inmate Randy Steidl became the improbable champion in the successful campaign to get the General Assembly to abolish the death penalty. Now he is trying to persude Gov. Pat Quinn to sign the repeal into law. He traveled a long road from death row to Springfield’s halls of power.

John Hanlon, now the legal director at the Downstate Illinois Innocence Project at UIS, worked all night long in April of 1992 writing Randy’s petition for post-conviction relief in Mike Metnick’s law office, which was above the Vinegar Hill Mall. By 7 a.m. we had appended the affidavits supporting the facts that revealed Randy’s innocence. We placed the petition in the trust of our runner, Paul Wetmore, who drove it to Paris, the Edgar County seat, to be filed. It was the last day of the statute of limitations for filing the petition. If some awful auto accident had impeded its delivery, all appeals in Randy’s case would have stopped there. The execution would have proceeded as scheduled."

Download a PDF of the full article