At great political peril, George Ryan did the right thing.
Not to canonize the man. After all, the then-governor of Illinois was later imprisoned on corruption charges.
But that doesn't change the fact that, in 2000, stung that 13 inmates had been exonerated and freed from death row in the previous 23 years, Mr. Ryan committed an act of profound moral courage, imposing a moratorium on capital punishment. In 2003, in the waning days of his term, he one-upped himself, commuting every death sentence in his state.
Recalling what Gov. George Ryan once did provides interesting context as Floridians and death penalty opponents around the country wait to see what Gov. Rick Scott...