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VICTOR SAFFORLD REMAINS on death row in an Illinois prison but no longer faces the death penalty due to a decision in 2003 by then-Governor George Ryan to commute all death sentences. But that didn’t stop Penn Law students opposed to the death penalty from taking up Safforld’s cause and pushing for a similar abolition in Pennsylvania.

Last March, during National Law Students Against the Death Penalty Week, students posed questions to Safforld, who called in from jail like a voice from beyond.

Safforld, in prison since 1990, continues to maintain his innocence in two murder cases, saying he confessed to the crimes — under an assumed name, Cortez Brown, thinking it would invalidate his confession — only after detectives beat him and threatened his family. He explained that he is trying to mobilize supporters to prevail upon Governor Rod Blagojevich to grant clemency and reduce his life sentence to 30 to 40 years.

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