Death Penalty is a Fast-Track to State Bankruptcy

Two events last week made compelling arguments against the death penalty. Last Friday, Brian Nichols, perpetrator of the notorious "Courthouse Shootings" in Georgia, was found guilty of 54 counts, including murder, kidnapping, assault and carjacking. Today, the sentencing phase of the trial commences. The New York Times reports: "Legal experts say the defense faces little chance of avoiding the death sentence for Mr. Nichols."

A death sentence can only mean one thing: Mr. Nichols will be sent to death row, where his incarceration will cost far more than if he is sentenced to life imprisonment, and the appeals process to spare Mr. Nichols' life will kick into high gear. Last February, The New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin authored an excellent article telling of the enormous expense of Nichols' legal odyssey through Georgia's court system. In short, the complexity of Nichols' case alone bankrupted the Georgia Public Defenders office. This problem isn't limited to Georgia — in fact, that state was on the road to rehabilitating its public defender system until it decided to seek Nichols' execution. The right to counsel is a basic constitutional guarantee, but at its current pace, many state public defender offices are being forced to sacrifice quality representation for quantity, adding to defense lawyers’ already crushing caseloads.

Appropriately, the Sunday Times reported:

Public defenders’ offices in at least seven states are refusing to take on new cases or have sued to limit them, citing overwhelming workloads that they say undermine the constitutional right to counsel for the poor.

Public defenders are notoriously overworked, and their turnover is high and their pay low. But now, in the most open revolt by public defenders in memory, many of the government-appointed lawyers say that state budget cuts and rising caseloads have pushed them to the breaking point.

We propose a simple, cost-effective solution to this crisis in our criminal justice system that could save states many millions in taxpayer dollars: abolish the death penalty. It's been shown, time and again, that the capital punishment gobbles up millions of dollars in public defender resources as well as the resources of other components of our criminal justice system. Life sentences instead of execution could mean more money for better schools, after-school programs, and other services that get to the root of the problem of crime in our communities. Let's spend more time and resources keeping people educated and alive rather than spending it trying to execute them.

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John

But will life in prison mean life?
Suppose he is sentenced to life in prison. Isn't there a good chance that he may get out much earlier because some people say he is 'reformed' and 'repented' for his crime.

Liberal hater

Once again we see the stupidity of liberalism. If these scumbag murderers were executed within months of their convictions like they did a 100 years ago then we would be saving alot of money by not having to keeping these dirtbags on death row for 20 years while some American hating lawyer appeals and appeals and appeals and appeals. Get the point!

Hank

There is such a thing as life without parole, you know. If "Liberal Hater" were wrongly accused and convicted of a capitol offence, I'll bet he would want more than just "months" to prove his innocence. Got your point; now get a life....

A Voice of Sanity

Liberal hater Says: "Once again we see the stupidity of liberalism. If these scumbag murderers were executed within months of their convictions like they did a 100 years ago then we would be saving alot of money by not having to keeping these dirtbags on death row for 20 years while some American hating lawyer appeals and appeals and appeals and appeals. Get the point!"

Sure we do, America hater. Oh, you say you don't hate America, just most Americans? What's the difference?

I suggest you talk to Jeffrey Scott Hornoff, a RI policeman who was convicted of murder. Judge Krause denied Hornoff's request for a new trial saying the state's case was, "presented so convincingly and with such compelling force as to leave no doubt here that Jeffrey Scott Hornoff was properly and deservedly convicted of first-degree murder." Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice Maureen McKenna Goldberg said regarding the Hornoff appeal that, "the defense witnesses had been wholly incongruous and self-serving and had led the jury - properly - to convict.

Only, guess what? Hornoff was innocent, something the legal system couldn't discover but which was proved when the actual murderer came forward and not only admitted his crime but proved it was he, not Hornoff who was guilty. Wasn't Hornoff lucky that an America hater like you was not in charge of his fate?

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