CHICAGO
07/05/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

State's Attorney Won't Halt Death Penalty Prosecutions Despite Public Defender's Plea

Prosecutors in Cook County will continue seeking the death penalty despite pleas from the public defender for a moratorium.

Chicago Public Radio reports that the Cook County state's attorney's office will seek the death penalty in some cases, even though the public defender's office lacks the resources to defend the accused.

"The courts cannot dictate to the states attorney which cases the state will choose to seek death on and a lack of funding on the part of the public defender does not change that," spokeswoman Sally Daly told WBEZ.

On Wednesday, Cook County Public Defender Abishi Cunningham said the county has depleted its share of a state fund that pays for costs in death penalty cases and was down to its last $100.

U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley said he would speak to the House Judiciary Committee about finding federal money for the public defender's office, and that imposing the death penalty without funding defense attorneys flies in the face of the Constitution and "our moral compass."