Published January 11, 2003
| Associated Press
A timeline of Gov. George Ryan's efforts to reform Illinois' capital punishment system.
— Jan. 31, 2000: Ryan declares a moratorium on executions after 13 men were freed from Illinois' death row because new evidence exonerated them or there were flaws in the way they were convicted.
— March 9, 2000: Ryan launches a new commission on capital punishment to study Illinois' death penalty system and recommend reforms.
— April 15, 2002: The panel commissioned to study Illinois' death penalty system proposes dozens of reforms and says capital punishment should be abolished if the reforms can't be enacted.
— Oct. 15, 2002: The state begins a marathon series of clemency hearings for nearly every prisoner on death row.
— Dec. 19, 2002: Ryan pardons three men wrongfully convicted of murder, Rolando Cruz, Gary Gauger and Steven Linscott.
— Jan. 10, 2003: Ryan pardons Madison Hobley, Stanley Howard, Aaron Patterson and Leroy Orange, saying Chicago police tortured the men into confessing to murders they didn't commit.
— Jan. 11, 2003: Ryan commutes 167 death sentences, a move that will clear Illinois' death row. Most of the inmates now face life in prison without parole; three could eventually be free.