Gov. George Ryan says he probably won't commute the sentences for every prisoner on Illinois' death row.
He says he has no doubt that some of the 142 people asking for clemency are guilty.
But he says he'll focus on separating those people from the ones who haven't had a fair trial or a fair hearing.
Ryan also defended the clemency hearings that are underway in Chicago and Springfield.
Critics accuse the governor of needlessly dredging up painful memories for victims' families.
Ryan says the inmates' petitions could have been handled on paper, but prosecutors wanted to testify and present sympathetic witnesses.