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Ending death penalty could save US millions
October 20, 2009
8:49 pm
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greeney2
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Nobody gets more appeals and fairness than someone on death row. Its an endless line of appeals, possible new trials, technicalities,etc. AVerage of 15-20 years before execution. The average jail sentence, even for life, may get one shot at an appeal. Millions of dollars literally are spent on each death penalty case, by the time any execution occurs.

That said, on this hand, money is the reason they want to consider ending the death penalty. On the other hand in California to save money, The state is now releasing thousands of criminals early from prison, becasue or overcrowding, and our state budget is bankrupt. Add to that, the enourmous case loads on courts, time and lack of people willing to serve jury duty, we plea bargain huge numbers of cases to save money on that end. Making long drawn out trials is a tactic to force a plea bargin. Non violent crimes are prime candidates for pleas, getting away with just about anything.

Where is the entire justice system heading?

Ending death penalty could save US millions: study
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WASHINGTON (AFP) – Even when executions are not carried out, the death penalty costs US states hundreds of millions of dollars a year, depleting budgets in the midst of economic crisis, a study released Tuesday found.

"It is doubtful in today's economic climate that any legislature would introduce the death penalty if faced with the reality that each execution would cost taxpayers 25 million dollars, or that the state might spend more than 100 million dollars over several years and produce few or no executions," argued Richard Dieter, director of the Death Penalty Information Center and the report's author.

"Surely there are more pressing needs deserving funding," he wrote, noting that execution was rated among the least effective crime deterrents.

In just one death penalty trial "the state may pay one million dollars more than for a non-death penalty trial. But only one in every three capital trials may result in a death sentence, so the true cost of that death sentence is three million dollars," the study's author said.

"Further down the road, only one in ten of the death sentences handed down may result in an execution. Hence, the cost to the state to reach that one execution is 30 million dollars," Dieter added in the report entitled "Smart on Crime."

The center's goal of ending executions may still be an uphill battle.

The report comes just a week after a new poll found that 65 percent of Americans still favor the death penalty.

Legal in 35 of the 50 US states and used regularly in about 12 or so, the death penalty has been reconsidered recently in 11 states, largely because of the high costs associated with its use.

Colorado came close to eliminating execution but New Mexico was the only state to abolish it, in March.

"There is no reason the death penalty should be immune from reconsideration, along with other wasteful, expensive programs that no longer make sense," Dieter stressed, noting that most US states that pay to maintain a system to execute inmates have in the past three decades put to death only a handful of convicted criminals.

"The same states that are spending millions of dollars on the death penalty are facing severe cutbacks in other justice areas. Courts are open less, trials are delayed, and even police are being furloughed," Dieter said.

In Pennsylvania, 200 police posts sit unfilled, and in New Hampshire trials were put on hold for a month to save money.

Dieter says that keeping execution while reducing its costs is not realistic. If less money is spent on appeals, he argues, the risk of executing an innocent person will increase.

He said that ultimately, execution does not deter crime as its supporters hope. Capital punishment has been abolished in most western democracies, and after it was eliminated in the US state of New Jersey in 2007, the state saw its murder rate decline.

Dieter cites a poll of 500 local police chiefs, which was paid for by the DPIC and released on Tuesday, showing support for ending capital punishment.

The survey found that the police chiefs see the death penalty as the least effective tool in deterring crime. They suggest more efficient use of resources -- such as boosting funding for drug and alcohol abuse programs.

October 21, 2009
12:33 am
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jdchaser
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Kind of reminds me of the headline of the state that abolished the death penalty. (except for those that were already sentenced)

Why are you hiding the truth from me when I can see it in plain sight? The only thing this proves is how blind you really are.

October 21, 2009
3:43 am
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greeney2
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Maybe we could save money by giving one choice of bargaining to the condemned, drop all appeals in exchange for guarenteed life in prison, without possibility of parole. One time offer good only at the time of a first appeal.

October 21, 2009
3:54 am
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Ninor
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"greeney2" wrote: Maybe we could save money by giving one choice of bargaining to the condemned, drop all appeals in exchange for guaranteed life in prison, without possibility of parole. One time offer good only at the time of a first appeal.

That does nothing for the small minority of the wrongly accused (innocent) other than prolonging their torture for a crime they didn't commit. 😕

October 21, 2009
6:00 am
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greeney2
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Thats definatly true I wasn't thinking about those who truly are not guilty.

October 21, 2009
5:12 pm
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Tairaa
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I think the evidence should have to be overwhelming for the death penalty, realistically. And even that won't ensure innocents getting killed..

"George Bush says he speaks to god every day, and christians love him for it. If George Bush said he spoke to god through his hair dryer, they would think he was mad. I fail to see how the addition of a hair dryer makes it any more absurd."

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