SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CN) – Should a disgraced former governor serving a 6½-year sentence in federal prison for corruption win the Nobel Peace Price? University of Illinois law professor Francis A. Boyle thinks so. Boyle has made it an annual crusade to nominate former Gov. George Ryan for stopping executions in Illinois.
Boyle can nominate people to the Nobel Committee because he is a professor of international law.
Gov. Ryan put a moratorium on carrying out the death penalty after studies showed that 13 people had been sentenced to death for crimes they did not commit.
The moratorium, still in place, set the groundwork for the Legislature’s passing a bill that abolished the death penalty in January.
Ryan was convicted of corruption in 2006 for using his office to enrich himself and his associates.
His supporters say that conviction is separate and irrelevant, and should not factor into Ryan’s shot at Nobel Peace Prize.
Boyle has taken the argument a step further by claiming Ryan was prosecuted by the government because of his anti-death-penalty work, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Boyle, who has no proof of that claim, noted that Ryan took 167 inmates off Death Row in 2003 and was indicted 11 months later on federal charges that he and family members took $167,000 in cash and benefits in exchange for state contracts.
“They alleged $167,000 – no more, no less,” Boyle told the Post-Dispatch in 2006. “That was no coincidence. That was clearly designed to send a message (from prosecutors) to Ryan and the abolition movement: ‘This is the price you pay’ for anti-death-penalty activism.”