Death penalty costs California $184 million a year

Party Rooster

Unleash The Beast
Apr 27, 2005
438
#1
I'm for it, but I've always thought it's more for satisfaction/revenge than an actual deterrent. $184 million's a lot of scratch, even if it's half that it still is.

Death penalty costs California $184 million a year, study says

A senior judge and law professor examine rising costs of the program. Without major reforms, they conclude, capital punishment will continue to exist mostly in theory while exacting an untenable cost.

By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times
June 20, 2011

Taxpayers have spent more than $4 billion on capital punishment in California since it was reinstated in 1978, or about $308 million for each of the 13 executions carried out since then, according to a comprehensive analysis of the death penalty's costs.

The examination of state, federal and local expenditures for capital cases, conducted over three years by a senior federal judge and a law professor, estimated that the additional costs of capital trials, enhanced security on death row and legal representation for the condemned adds $184 million to the budget each year.

The study's authors, U.S. 9th Circuit Judge Arthur L. Alarcon and Loyola Law School professor Paula M. Mitchell, also forecast that the tab for maintaining the death penalty will climb to $9 billion by 2030, when San Quentin's death row will have swollen to well over 1,000.

In their research for "Executing the Will of the Voters: A Roadmap to Mend or End the California Legislature's Multi-Billion-Dollar Death Penalty Debacle," Alarcon and Mitchell obtained California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation records that were unavailable to others who have sought to calculate a cost-benefit analysis of capital punishment.

Their report traces the legislative and initiative history of the death penalty in California, identifying costs imposed by the expansion of the types of crimes that can lead to a death sentence and the exhaustive appeals guaranteed condemned prisoners.

The authors outline three options for voters to end the current reality of spiraling costs and infrequent executions: fully preserve capital punishment with about $85 million more in funding for courts and lawyers each year; reduce the number of death penalty-eligible crimes for an annual savings of $55 million; or abolish capital punishment and save taxpayers about $1 billion every five or six years.

Alarcon, who prosecuted capital cases as a Los Angeles County deputy district attorney in the 1950s and served as clemency secretary to Gov. Pat Brown, said in an interview that he believes the majority of California voters will want to retain some option for punishing the worst criminals with death. He isn't opposed to capital punishment, while Mitchell, his longtime law clerk, said she favors abolition. Both said they approached the analysis from an impartial academic perspective, aiming solely to educate voters about what they are spending on death row.

Alarcon four years ago issued an urgent appeal for overhaul of capital punishment in the state, noting that the average lag between conviction and execution was more than 17 years, twice the national figure. Now it is more than 25 years, with no executions since 2006 and none likely in the near future because of legal challenges to the state's lethal injection procedures.

The long wait for execution "reflects a wholesale failure to fund the efficient, effective capital punishment system that California voters were told they were choosing" in the battery of voter initiatives over the last three decades that have expanded the penalty to 39 special circumstances in murder, the report says.

Unless profound reforms are made by lawmakers who have failed to adopt previous recommendations for rescuing the system, Alarcon and Mitchell say, capital punishment will continue to exist mostly in theory while exacting an untenable cost.

Among their findings to be published next weekin the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review:

The state's 714 death row prisoners cost $184 million more per year than those sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

A death penalty prosecution costs up to 20 times as much as a life-without-parole case.

The least expensive death penalty trial costs $1.1 million more than the most expensive life-without-parole case.

Jury selection in a capital case runs three to four weeks longer and costs $200,000 more than in life-without-parole cases.

The state pays up to $300,000 for attorneys to represent each capital inmate on appeal.

The heightened security practices mandated for death row inmates added $100,663 to the cost of incarcerating each capital prisoner last year, for a total of $72 million.

The study's findings replicated many of those made by the bipartisan California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice in 2008, and a year later, when the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California researched the death penalty's fiscal effects ahead of public hearings on how to revise lethal injection procedures after a federal judge ruled the state's practices unconstitutional.

As with the recommendations in Alarcon's 2007 report, none of the remedies outlined by the commission chaired by former Atty. Gen. John Van de Kamp has been adopted by lawmakers or put to the public for a vote.

All of the examinations have pointed to a shortage of death penalty-qualified attorneys in the state as a prime cause of the delays in handling appeals from death row prisoners. At the time of the commission's report, it took an average of 10 years for a condemned inmate to get his death sentence reviewed by the California Supreme Court, as required by law.

Michael Millman, executive director of the California Appellate Project, says more than 300 inmates on death row are waiting to have attorneys assigned to work on their state appeals and federal habeas corpus petitions. He says there are fewer than 100 attorneys in the state qualified to handle capital cases because the work is dispiriting and demanding and the compensation inadequate.

Death penalty advocates argue that the lack of attorneys qualified to represent death row inmates in a state with a bar membership over 230,000 is deliberate.

"Choking off the appeals is part of the strategy" of those opposed to capital punishment, Kent Scheidegger, legal director for the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, says of what he calls unnecessarily elaborate state court requirements for taking on death penalty cases.

In their report, Alarcon and Mitchell raise the prospect of costly new legal challenges to the state's handling of capital inmates because of the dozens who have died while waiting for lawyers to be assigned for their appeals. Of the 92 death row inmates who have died since 1978, only 13 were executed in California and one was executed in Missouri, while 54 died of natural causes, 18 by suicide and six by inmate violence or undetermined causes.

Federal judges find fault with about 70% of the California death row prisoners' convictions and send them back to the trial courts for further proceedings, the report noted. That could make the state vulnerable to charges of denying inmates due process, the authors warned.

The report also says the corrections department and the Legislative Analyst's Office failed to honestly assess and disclose to the public what 30 years of tough-on-crime legislation and ballot measures actually cost.

"We hope that California voters, informed of what the death penalty actually costs them, will cast their informed votes in favor of a system that makes sense," the report concludes.

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-adv-death-penalty-costs-20110620,0,3505671.story?track=rss
 

Norm Stansfield

私は亀が好きだ。
Mar 17, 2009
328
#2
I'm for it, but I've always thought it's more for satisfaction/revenge than an actual deterrent.
It's neither revenge nor a deterrent. It's a concept that's a little more abstract called 'justice'. I wouldn't expect most Californians to understand it, it's way too connected to the concept 'reality'.
 

whiskeyguy

PR representative for Drunk Whiskeyguy.
Donator
Jan 12, 2010
398
#3
I'm for the death penalty also, but not at that expense. I think California is just one of those states that can't have it. We spent way to much on each individual case before it gets to that point... 20+ years of appeals all funded by the taxpayers. I think we need a system like (I believe) Texas has where if there is "indisputable evidence" their appeals ability is severely limited.
 

weeniewawa

it's a man, baby!!!
May 21, 2005
593
#4
there are a lot of people who would take care of these death row scum for a LOT less

we need to just stop letting them appeal their sentences for eternity
 

Begbie

Wackbag Generalissimo
Jul 21, 2003
838
#5
It's neither revenge nor a deterrent. It's a concept that's a little more abstract called 'justice'. I wouldn't expect most Californians to understand it, it's way too connected to the concept 'reality'.
:icon_mrgr

weeniewawa said:
there are a lot of people who would take care of these death row scum for a LOT less
Nonono...that would be cruel and unusual punishment. The savages who are convicted of dismembering children, hacking innocent people just for the hell of it, and shooting and killing a cop because they were wanted over some drug charge that could lock them up for 5-10 years...those people deserve better and if we do have to put them to death, it has to be as painless and as humane as possible. They deserve the very best that we can deliver after they've committed such a heinous act of violence. :icon_cool
 

Party Rooster

Unleash The Beast
Apr 27, 2005
438
#6
It's neither revenge nor a deterrent. It's a concept that's a little more abstract called 'justice'. I wouldn't expect most Californians to understand it, it's way too connected to the concept 'reality'.
Hey, dumbass, I guess the concept of "satisfaction" is too abstract for you to understand, i.e, satisfaction in that justice was served.
 

MagicBob

Registered User
Dec 2, 2010
88
#7
Im very comfortable with the death penalty costing a ton and taking a long time to administer. The most serious thing a citizenry can do is give the government to ability to deprive them of their life. Every avenue should be perused in order to make sure that the punishment is justified and that the accused is indeed guilty of the crime and has expended every legal recourse before the punishment is administered.

100% for the death penalty, and I dont care if it costs a bunch.
 

Don the Radio Guy

G-Bb-A-D
Donator
Mar 30, 2006
568
#8
Im very comfortable with the death penalty costing a ton and taking a long time to administer. The most serious thing a citizenry can do is give the government to ability to deprive them of their life. Every avenue should be perused in order to make sure that the punishment is justified and that the accused is indeed guilty of the crime and has expended every legal recourse before the punishment is administered.

100% for the death penalty, and I dont care if it costs a bunch.
I can't believe this, but you make sense and I agree. There may be ways to cut costs, but taking shortcuts in the legal process aren't the way. I would rather just eliminate the death penalty before putting an innocent man to death to save a few bucks.

California could save billions in much better common sense ways.
 

Stormrider666

Hell is home.
Mar 19, 2005
673
#9
Im very comfortable with the death penalty costing a ton and taking a long time to administer. The most serious thing a citizenry can do is give the government to ability to deprive them of their life. Every avenue should be perused in order to make sure that the punishment is justified and that the accused is indeed guilty of the crime and has expended every legal recourse before the punishment is administered.

100% for the death penalty, and I dont care if it costs a bunch.
I can't believe this, but you make sense and I agree. There may be ways to cut costs, but taking shortcuts in the legal process aren't the way. I would rather just eliminate the death penalty before putting an innocent man to death to save a few bucks.

California could save billions in much better common sense ways.
Agreed. I'm for the death penalty in certain cases. But before the lever is pulled or the needle injected, everything should be done to make sure right person is being punished for their crime. I'm sorry, the words "oops we made mistake" should never be uttered in life and death situations.
 

Don the Radio Guy

G-Bb-A-D
Donator
Mar 30, 2006
568
#10
I suppose it would be pointless to bring up the fact that getting rid of certain groups in California would not only reduce the number of people on death row, but save more money than eliminating the death penalty would ever save.

Also, stop throwing non-violent offenders in prison for years upon years. That would save even more money. I'm sick of hearing about California's legal system and its problems. They brought this upon themselves. Denying justice to victims or executing innocent people isn't the answer. Having common fucking sense is.
 

d0uche_n0zzle

**Negative_Creep**
Sep 15, 2004
763
#11
Liberalize CCW from a may issue to a shall issue state and then pass a stand your ground law.

Win-win.
 

THRILLHO

Registered User
Apr 5, 2009
348
#12
But bullets cost only about 25 cents each...
 

TheDrip

I'm bi-winning.
Jan 9, 2006
228
#13
Cut down the number of appeals and speed up the process. The cost will nosedive.
 

Don the Radio Guy

G-Bb-A-D
Donator
Mar 30, 2006
568
#14
Cut down the number of appeals and speed up the process. The cost will nosedive.
What part of the appeals process do you want removed? The second you pick a point in the process, know that eventually an innocent man is going to die because of that step being missing. Things could definitely be sped up. That part I agree with.
 

JonBenetRamsey

well shit the bed
Aug 30, 2005
693
#15
if some of these "suspects" have "accidents" with their "own guns" when they're arrested, cali could save a bundle!
 

Ballbuster1

In The Danger Zone...
Wackbag Staff
Aug 26, 2002
919
#16
I'm all for a death penalty but I agree that all the appeals are necessary if you
want to be sure only the guilty are killed. If you want to short cut that process
then innocent people will die and that's unacceptable.

Honestly at this point I wonder if it's even worth the cost of pursuing a death penalty
in most cases or just incarcerate them for life and move on. An eye for an eye is getting
very costly and it's not stopping the crime.
 

Don the Radio Guy

G-Bb-A-D
Donator
Mar 30, 2006
568
#17
Honestly at this point I wonder if it's even worth the cost of pursuing a death penalty
in most cases or just incarcerate them for life and move on. An eye for an eye is getting
very costly and it's not stopping the crime.
It might not be worth the cost. But then again criminalizing things that shouldn't be crimes would free up the money to punish those who really deserve it. You live in PA, do you know how many people are in state prisons in PA right now for driving on suspended licenses?
 

Ballbuster1

In The Danger Zone...
Wackbag Staff
Aug 26, 2002
919
#18
It might not be worth the cost. But then again criminalizing things that shouldn't be crimes would free up the money to punish those who really deserve it. You live in PA, do you know how many people are in state prisons in PA right now for driving on suspended licenses?
Fuck yeah. The priorities are way out of whack and nobody should be in jail for pot either.
 

TheDrip

I'm bi-winning.
Jan 9, 2006
228
#19
What part of the appeals process do you want removed? The second you pick a point in the process, know that eventually an innocent man is going to die because of that step being missing. Things could definitely be sped up. That part I agree with.
Them's the breaks.
 

Norm Stansfield

私は亀が好きだ。
Mar 17, 2009
328
#21
I can't believe this, but you make sense and I agree. There may be ways to cut costs, but taking shortcuts in the legal process aren't the way. I would rather just eliminate the death penalty before putting an innocent man to death to save a few bucks.

California could save billions in much better common sense ways.
Im very comfortable with the death penalty costing a ton and taking a long time to administer. The most serious thing a citizenry can do is give the government to ability to deprive them of their life. Every avenue should be perused in order to make sure that the punishment is justified and that the accused is indeed guilty of the crime and has expended every legal recourse before the punishment is administered.

100% for the death penalty, and I dont care if it costs a bunch.
Look at you two coming together and making sense. That's so sweet. Give each other a nice kiss.

Yeah, you're both absolutely right in what you're saying. But what's being missed is that if you look at some of the obstacles some lawmakers and judges throw up in California, they clearly aren't intended to make sure the people are guilty, and do nothing to help make sure. They are obviously, and often openly, just meant to make it impossible to execute the guilty. That doesn't help anyone except the murderers who get to live and enjoy the spotlight.

P.S. Let's look at a different, more publicized example: How does the Obama admin. stopping the import of some lethal injection drugs that states were buying from England help make the process better? They are clearly trying to prevent the process, not make it better. Those types of roadblocks are thrown up by Liberals opposed to the death penalty on principle all the time.
 

MayrMeninoCrash

Liberal Psycopath
Dec 9, 2004
763
#22
Those types of roadblocks are thrown up by Liberals opposed to the death penalty on principle all the time.
Congratulations Norm, you just out-retarded Kirk with that statement. I had no idea opposition to the death penalty was a liberal thing, and conservatives were 100% on board. :rolleyes:
 

MagicBob

Registered User
Dec 2, 2010
88
#23
P.S. Let's look at a different, more publicized example: How does the Obama admin. stopping the import of some lethal injection drugs that states were buying from England help make the process better? They are clearly trying to prevent the process, not make it better. Those types of roadblocks are thrown up by Liberals opposed to the death penalty on principle all the time.
funny, until VERY recently it was made in the US...
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/22/us/22lethal.html

and I'd like to see any proof that it was Obama stopped the importation...
Some states—including California, Arizona and Nebraska—were able to obtain the drug from suppliers in England and India. The British government has since banned such shipments.A class-action lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to allow the importation of the drug into the country without adequate inspection or quality checks is pending
http://knowledgecenter.csg.org/drupal/content/lethal-injection-drug-shortage

sounds like the FDA was making it easier to get it into the country, but the exporting governments had a problem with it.