The Illinois Supreme Court has announced the death at age 81 of former Chief Justice Moses Harrison.
Harrison began his career on the bench in 1973 as a circuit court judge. He was serving on the 5th District Appellate Court when he was elected to the Supreme Court in 1992. He served as chief justice from 2000 to 2002.
Harrison perhaps is best known for a dissenting opinion in the death penalty case People v. Bull in November 1998. Harrison urged abolition of the death penalty, fearing an innocent will eventually be put to death. Illinois' death penalty was abolished in 2011.
The Chicago Tribune reports, "Former chief justice of Illinois Supreme Court opposed death penalty."
Former Illinois Supreme Court Justice Moses Harrison was a longtime foe of the death penalty.
During his tenure as chief justice of the state high court, he appeared on the TV news show "60 Minutes" with Mike Wallace to discuss the state's death penalty, which Illinois lawmakers eliminated in 2011. He also appeared in the movie "Too Flawed to Fix: The Illinois Death Penalty Experience."
Mr. Harrison wrote in a dissenting opinion in a late 1990s death penalty case that "the execution of an innocent person is inevitable" and that "despite the courts' efforts to fashion a death penalty scheme that is just, fair and reliable, the system is not working."
When asked once how he saw his role, he said, "It is to protect ordinary citizens against wrongdoing by the government, large corporations and powerful individuals."
Related posts ar in the in memoriam category index.