On Wednesday, a DuPage County jury sentenced Brian Dugan to death for the murder of 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico of Naperville, who he abducted, raped and murdered in 1983. Dugan also murdered two other women, along with committing other rapes and crimes. There doesn't seem to be any question of Dugan's guilt, especially since he confessed.
But enforcement of the death penalty has been suspended in Illinois since the end of Gov. George Ryan's term, when a seemingly endless string of exonerations of Death Row convicts threw the state's legal system in doubt. Ryan believed there was too high of a chance of a wrongly convicted person being executed and suspended the penalty until things improved.
Convicts serving long sentences are still being exonerated in Illinois, however, So the question is, should the state bring back enforcement of the death penalty? What needs to be done to ensure there are no more cases like that of Rolando Cruz, who was convicted of Jeanine Nicarico's murder and sentenced to death long before Dugan was a suspect? Or is the system too flawed to risk executing an innocent person?