John Holdridge and Christopher Hill of the Capital Punishment Project wrote a letter to the editor of The New York Times in response to its article “Official Quits in Georgia Public Defender Dispute.” (Christopher wrote an op-ed about this very topic for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, as well.)
The letter, which appeared on September 13, 2007, pointed out that numerous studies have found that the vast majority of death-penalty states fail to adequately fund the defense of death penalty defendants. These states include Texas (which leads the nation in executions); Oklahoma (which is third in number of executions); and Missouri (which is fourth). John and Christopher point out “many politicians love to proclaim their support for capital punishment, but then refuse to pay for a fair system.” They also remind us that the Constitution guarantees criminal defendants effective assistance of counsel and a fair trial. Those rights cost money, and the costs are much higher in death penalty cases.