Eight years ago, reformers put an end to the death penalty in Illinois. After watching a parade of men who were sentenced to death but turned out to be innocent, the Legislature and former Gov. Pat Quinn abolished capital punishment.
But now there might be a way for authorities here to use the federal government to execute inmates through the back door. And that would be a slap at justice.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr recently announced the federal government would resume executions of death row inmates in federal prison — something that hasn’t happened since 2003. Five executions are set to take place in coming months, starting in December.
Barr’s action could encourage prosecutors in Illinois to move cases into the federal system to get around the death penalty ban.
Brendt Christensen, the man convicted of killing University of Illinois student Yingying Zhang, for example, faced a trip…