SPRINGFIELD - As Ralph and Vanessa Meyer of Shorewood toured the state Capitol Monday, they were visibly stunned to hear that former Gov. George Ryan had been found guilty on all charges in his federal corruption trial.
The couple among many visitors touring the building Monday had been following the landmark trial throughout its five-month duration.
"The longer it takes to reach a verdict, it usually means less of a chance for there to be a conviction," Ralph Meyer said. "I thought it was going to be a hung jury. It's disappointing. It's a shame."
The Meyers said they will remember being in the Capitol a building where Ryan spent three decades as a member of the General Assembly and then in the executive branch when they heard about the verdict.
Susan and Miles McHugh of Chicago followed the trial to give their children a lesson in politics.
"It's a sad story for somebody that age to go through after spending so much of his life in politics," Susan McHugh said of the 72-year-old former governor and secretary of state.
"It's sad for Illinois," Miles McHugh added. "It says something about politicians in general and that power corrupts people."
Linda Demaree, who lives in Schuyler County, was visiting the Capitol with her daughter and son-in-law from New Zealand. They said cases like the Ryan trial affect the views people in other countries have of America.
"Republican and Democrat, there's enough corruption to go around equally," Demaree said. "Partisanship has gotten out of hand. It's sad regardless of the political side you're on."
Demaree also was upset that the trial was coming at the taxpayers' expense.
"He should have to reimburse the state for the costs of the trial," Demaree said. "Somebody needs to pay the taxpayers back regardless of if he's actually guilty or not."
Not everybody has faith in the political system, and the Ryan trial didn't change their perception of politics.
"I don't get into it," said Tracy Larios of Romeoville, who was visiting the Capitol for the first time. "Millions of people are out there. It's not going to change with my vote."