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Publications

Capital Punishment in Illinois in the Aftermath of the Ryan Commutations: Reforms, Economic Realities, and a New Saliency for Issues of Cost by Leigh Bienen.
In 2000 when Governor George Ryan unilaterally imposed a statewide moratorium on executions in Illinois, in response to accumulating evidence of more than a dozen wrongfully convicted persons on death row in Illinois. In 1999 the Illinois legislature created the Capital Litigation Trust Fund, to allow private, appointed defense counsel, state’s attorneys, and public defenders to be paid directly for the expenses of a capital trial from state appropriated funds, upon the approval of the trial court judge. Publishing new data on capital prosecutions in Illinois since 2000, this article documents evidence of state money spent at the county level on more than 500 capital prosecutions, the largest proportion from Cook County, which resulted in 17 death sentences imposed. More than 100 million dollars of state money has been spent out of the Capital Litigation Trust Fund alone by county state’s attorneys, appointed private counsel, and by public defenders. The availability of state funds changed the dynamics and economic and bureaucratic incentives for capital prosecution. In addition, over 64 million dollars has been spent by the state, the city of Chicago, and the counties in judgments involving wrongful convictions. This article presents data on capital prosecutions and murders across the state, and publishes for the first time the State’s Attorney’s own adopted guidelines for the selection of cases for capital prosecution. When patterns of capital prosecution are examined across the state as a whole, it becomes clear that the counties most likely to spend the state’s money on prosecuting first degree murder cases capitally are not those jurisdictions with the largest number of first degree murders. Nor is there a correspondence between the number of county capital prosecutions, the number of death sentences imposed, the number of murders or the murder rate in that county, and the amount of money spent by the county from the Capital Litigation Trust Fund. County by county disparities in capital case prosecutions and in expenditures of state money are startling. The absence of centralized review and the presence of many potential areas of conflicts of interest should submit the existing system to close scrutiny at this time of budgetary pressure.
Chicago Police Areas, Districts and Beats
Compiled by the CPD's Bureau of Administrative Services Information Services GIS, May 2009
Guide to Homicide Databases and Publically Available Research Using Original Homicide Records and Documents
The purpose of this Guide is to refer users of the Northwestern University Law School Capital Crimes Database, the Illinois Murder indictments web site, to other homicide datasets and research, available online from public sources of information and to introduce different research approaches.
Homicide Trends in Chicago and Cook County
Homicides of School-Aged Children and Adolescents
In response to the significant media attention concerning homicides of school-age children and adolescents, this CHDL Data Brief uses IVDRS data to examine the circumstances of homicides where the victim is 5 to 18 years of age; this issue combines data for 2005 through 2008 for homicides that occurred in Cook, DuPage, Kane and Peoria counties (Table 1). The annual homicide rate for the IVDRS counties ranges from 5.4 to 7.8 per 100,000; overall, the IVDRS counties have higher homicide rates than either Illinois or the U.S. for 2005 to 2007.
How and Why Illinois Abolished the Death Penalty
RedEye Homicide Tracker, Police Beats & Illinois Violent Death Reporting System (IVDRS)
Report of the Governor's Commission on Capital Punishment, George H. Ryan, Governor, April 15

City of Chicago Crime Statistics

Detailed statistics for Chicago homicides, by year, including date, precise location and other parameters

11 year comparison
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001

Capital Litigation Trust Fund Statistical Report

Case- and County-Related Expenses for Appointed Counsel, Public Defender and State's Attorney, by year

Fiscal Years 2000-2009 (By Case)
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000

Other Websites

2003 Chicago Murders
This website by Leigh Bienen is a companion to Illinois Murder Indictments 2000-2010, with focus on a database of 140 cases drawn from 2,200 death eligible murder indictments presented here. These 140 cases are all from Cook County, and the indictments date from the period January 1, 2003 - June 30, 2003. The data base consists of information for each case taken from two public sources: the official Circuit Court of Cook County indictment and the Circuit Court of Cook County Certified Statement of Conviction/Dispostion.

Homicide in Chicago 1870-1930
A handwritten record of the 11,000+ homicides in Chicago transformed into an interactive database; including historical, legal and photographic contextual material; 12 video interviews; and 14 scanned volumes of historical works. By Leigh Bienen.

Illinois Judges
Biographical and professional data and information on the election and appointment of all Illinois State Judges sitting during the calendar year 2015, including an Introduction by Alderman Edward M. Burke.

Center on Wrongful Convictions
The Center on Wrongful Convictions is dedicated to identifying and rectifying wrongful convictions and other serious miscarriages of justice. To date, the Center has exonerated more than forty innocent men, women, and children from states around the country, and it receives thousands of inquiries a year. The CWC also houses some of the nation's leading legal experts on false confessions and police interrogations and has helped exonerate more than twenty false confessors.

Center on Wrongful Convictions: Resources page
Including Legal Representation, Database, Criminal Justice Organizations and Death Penalty Websites.

Chicago History Museum
CHM’s mission—to share Chicago’s stories, serving as a hub of scholarship and learning, inspiration, and civic engagement—is the foundation of the Museum’s programs and events, exhibitions, educational initiatives, publications, and collecting activities that touch the lives of all Chicagoans and help them make meaningful and personal connections to history.

Chicago HSI
An application to research spatial relationships between homicide events in Chicago. This tool is comprised of multiple federal, state, and regional data resources organized into an intuitive visual display.

Chicago Public Library Bibliography Commons
Explore Chicago Public Library. New titles, recently rated, and recently tagged by the library community.

Famous Online Cases, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County
The Clerk of the Circuit Court archives contain original court files and documents reflecting the history of Cook County and, in many cases, the United States. While every court case is very important to the participants, some cases involving famous (or infamous) people or situations engender strong and enduring public interest. The court files and documents generated by these cases provide a window to the social, economic and political history of Cook County.

Illinois Digital Archives
The Illinois Digital Archives is a repository for the digital collections of the Illinois State Library as well as other libraries and cultural institutions in the State of Illinois.

National Archive of Criminal Justice Data
Established in 1978, the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD) archives and disseminates data on crime and justice for secondary analysis. The archive contains data from over 2,700 curated studies or statistical data series.

People V. Nathan F. Leopold, Jr., and Richard Loeb, Clerk of the Circuit County, Cook County
On May 21, 1924, the fourteen-year-old son of a wealthy industrialist, named Bobby Franks, was kidnapped, bludgeoned to death, and left dead in a marsh on the far south side of Chicago. A pair of eyeglasses dropped at the crime scene led police to two University of Chicago students, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb.

Florence Kelley in Chicago 1891-1899
Florence Kelley was the first woman factory inspector in the United States, appointed in Illinois by Governor John Peter Altgeld in 1893. A resident of Hull House, and a reformer – who refused to be associated with any political party–Florence Kelley lived in Chicago from 1891 until 1899, leading and participating in a variety of projects. These included: a wage and ethnicity census of the slums and tenements in Chicago; the reporting of cases and contagion in the smallpox epidemic of 1893; the enforcement of the universal primary education laws, and, most importantly, enforcing the provisions of the Illinois Factory Inspections Law of 1893.