Death penalty too expensive for some of the United States

Thursday, September 1st, 2011 By

Graffiti artist's rendition of the Monopoly Man in a Venice Beach, Calif., street painting entitled “Money.”

He saw how expensive the death penalty has been since 1978. (Photo Credit: CC BY/Thomas Galvez/Flickr)

According a 2008 study by the Death Penalty Information Center, California spends $137 million per year on capital punishment cases, whereas life without parole would cost only $11.5 million. On average nationwide, it costs two to three times more for a death penalty case. The writing is on the wall, writes FOX News: The death penalty is too expensive for the cash-strapped United States.

Dropping out of the death penalty industry

A shaky U.S. economy has forced lawmakers to make some tough decisions regarding the use of capital punishment.

“It is a big deal for county budgets,” said Dan Satterberg, King County (Wash.) Prosecuting Attorney. “When a death penalty case comes up, cost is a factor that everyone is considering.”

Considering the high cost of criminal trials – which can easily amount to millions of dollars – the addition of a deeply expensive coda stretches many state economies beyond their limits during these recessionary times. Some legal experts argue that the 60 percent decrease in death penalty sentences since 2000 stems from more skeptical juries, better defense and fewer district attorneys seeking the death penalty, but the truth may be that spiraling costs are singularly to blame.

“(The legal system) wants to drive up the cost,” Satterberg told FOX. “(It wants) to delay cases forever, only to turn around and use those arguments why we should get rid of the death penalty.”

Better ways to spend money

Endless mitigation and lengthy investigations into the possible causes of a criminal defendant’s behavior – critics would say excuses – have drawn out criminal trials at great cost. Some attorneys who support the death penalty hold that such extensive investigation is necessary for such complex cases, hence the accelerated costs. Yet as former Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti (who tried O.J. Simpson) said, there are better ways to spend the money.

“We should take that $4 billion and give it to teachers, keep the kids in school,” Garcetti said, “That’s the way to really protect society.”

Death penalty has cost California $4 billion since 1978

Sources

Associated Press

Christian Science Monitor

Death Penalty Information Center

FOX News

Previous Article

« September is Life Insurance Awareness Month

The number of Americans with life insurance coverage has reached its lowest point in 50 years. It’s hard to think about future needs when many of us are struggling to make ends meet today. The non-profit Life Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) is sponsoring Life Insurance Awareness Month this September [...] Life Insurance
Next Article

TripAdvisor under fire; accused of posting fake reviews »

Consumers may want to think twice before funneling their hard-earned dollars into travel and restaurant destinations suggested by TripAdvisor, reports The Telegraph. The travel review website is being investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority after a flood of complaints. Thousands of hotels and restaurants claim that TripAdvisor’s reviews are either [...] The TripAdvisor logo owl mascot gives a woman a hug.