Ill. judge Moses Harrison, known for death penalty opposition, dies

April 28, 2013 at 2:22 PM
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CASEYVILLE, Ill., April 28 (UPI) -- Moses W. Harrison II, a liberal former Illinois Supreme Court chief justice known for his opposition to the death penalty, has died, his family said. He was 81.

Harrison wrote an emotional dissent -- the only justice on the panel to do so -- in the appeals case of Donald Bull, a brain-damaged man convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Many credited his advocacy along with the Innocence Project, a journalist group dedicated to exonerating death row inmates, with the state's moratorium on executions, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said Sunday.

Calling the Bull execution "profoundly unjust," Harrison said all executions in Illinois should stop because "the execution of an innocent person is inevitable."

Harrison was elected to the Illinois Supreme Court in 1992 and appointed chief justice for a three-year term in 2000. He retired just shy of completing that term in 2002.

He was a native of Caseyville, Ill., just across the state line from St. Louis.

No cause of death was given.

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