by Jeremy Leaming
Efforts are underway in California, Kansas, Ohio, Maryland and Connecticut to dump the use of the death penalty. Politico notes, “Advocates say the coming year could be their best opportunity yet to replace the death penalty with life without the possibility of parole in these states, pointing to shifts in public opinion, rising concern over execution costs, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber’s recent decision to place a moratorium on capital punishment, and Troy Davis’s high-profile execution galvanizing opposition to the death penalty.”
Diann Rust-Tierney, head of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, told Politico that Davis’s case helped spark greater attention to how states employ capital punishment. “That was a sad but stark example to folks of how broken the system is,” Rust-Tierney said.
Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said, “Any of those [state efforts] could succeed, but they’re all teed up for this coming year."
As Politico notes, the SAFE California Campaign, which is working to place an initiative before voters next year to abolish the death penalty, has cited the enormous costs – in the billions – of carrying out the death penalty in a state burdened with significant budgetary woes .
In a Dec. 2 guest post for ACSblog, Andrew Love, a death penalty lawyer in California, noted, “A study released by U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Arthur L. Alarcon found that California’s death penalty system is currently costing the state about $184 million per year. Further, ‘since reinstating the death penalty in 1978, California taxpayers have spent roughly $4 billion to fund a dysfunctional death penalty system that has carried out no more than 13 executions.'"
[image via misu131]