**SPECIAL POST-WEEKEND EDITION**
- Death to death penalty? A Trib editorial supports State Rep. Karen Yarbrough’s (D-Maywood) bill to end the death penalty in Illinois, citing coerced confessions, prosecutorial mistakes, excessive costs, and abuses in the Capital Litigation Trust Fund. Death penalty opponents are rallying in Springfield this week. As the issue moves to the front burner, it’s also gaining national prominence with a front page story in The New York Times highlighting the fascinating details behind retired Justice John Paul Stevens’ conversion from death penalty advocate to fierce opponent. The BGA got a sneak preview of Justice Stevens’ thoughts in his remarks to our annual luncheon in October. You can read a transcript of his prepared remarks here, and view the video of his speech here. Stevens, who also appeared on 60 Minutes over the weekend, ended his speech to the BGA with a suggestion that we hold one of our “Idea Forums” on the death penalty. Justice, we’ve taken it under advisement.
- A-B-Cs of picking judges? Judges should be listed on the ballot alphabetically so it’s easier to find bad ones and vote “no,” says a Trib editorial. Best plan is for experts to select them, not voters, but pols don’t want to give up their slating power, so alphabet soup is a good Plan B.
- Judy, Judy, Judy? HuffPo’s Matt Sledge reveals that US Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Hinsdale) voted for use of body scanners in airports after investing in firm that manufactures them. At least she disclosed the investment on her ethics statement.
- More pension peril? Only 20 of 300 suburban pensions are fully funded, according to a Trib investigation. “Failures and missteps have collectively helped create another staggering layer of crisis” on top of city and state messes.
- Diddled in Dolton? Nine cops in that south suburb file lawsuit against late Mayor Bill Shaw (no relation) for allegedly rigging an ’07 sergeant’s exam to help his cronies.
- Stung in Maywood? Cop in that western suburb nabbed in federal sting for allegedly stealing cash from suspects. Maywood chief’s lament: “Sad that you have officers who choose to punish the badge.”