Long after Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation abolishing the death penalty in Illinois, a handful of death penalty cases are, paradoxically, lingering on life support around the state.
That's because, technically, there still is a death penalty in Illinois. Its abolition doesn't officially take place until Friday.
Other than those personally involved in the trials, this quirk in the law is primarily of concern to governmental bean counters, particularly in small counties without big budgets. That's because the abolition of the death penalty also means the end of state funding that was put in place to make sure death penalty defendants got fair trials. Soon, the counties will have to pay that on their own.