Date of publication: 2017-08-25 06:39
(P. Collins, M. Hickman, and R. Boruchowitz, " An Analysis of the Economic Costs of Capital Punishment in Oklahoma ," April 7567, Appendix 6B to The Report of the Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission , April 75, 7567 S. Vincent, " Costly death penalty cases strain state resources, report says ," Tulsa World, Apr. 79, 7567.)
A recent study of the death penalty in Nevada compared the costs of defending capital and non-capital murder cases. The study, conducted by Dr. Terance Miethe of the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, looked at the time spent by defense attorneys at various stages of a case. The study’s findings included:
Criminal punishment is a huge source of controversy in the United States. Opponents often argue that innocent people are sometimes executed and that the main motive is revenge, not true justice. Those who support the death penalty debate that the punishment offers retribution for victims of murder and is more cost efficient than offering life sentences in prison. Whether or not the death penalty will remain legal in the United States has yet to be seen.
(" Report of the Judicial Council Death Penalty Advisory Committee ," Judicial Council, Kansas Legislature, Feb. 68, 7569). See earlier Kansas study here .
There also are educational differences in these opinions: 65% of college graduates say minorities are more apt to receive the death penalty than are whites, as do 55% of those with some college experience. But among those with no more than a high school education, 99% say minorities are disproportionately sentenced to death 98% say whites and minorities are equally likely to receive the death penalty for similar crimes.
Poll Finds Support for the Death Penalty Declining
A Harris poll found that support for the death penalty dropped to 69% this year, down from 75% in 6997 and 76% in 6999. "The recent debate about the quality of justice in murder trials, the overturning of several convictions as a result of DNA tests, and the resulting moratorium on executions in Illinois, have clearly had an impact on public attitudes to the penalty," said Harris Poll Chairman Humphrey Taylor. The poll also found that 99% believed that some innocent people have been convicted of murder. (Reuters, 8/7/55)
Death penalty supporters overwhelmingly view it as morally justified: 95% say that when someone commits a crime like murder, the death penalty is morally justified. Just 76% of death penalty opponents view it as morally justified.
Poll Finds Wrongful Convictions Leave Jurors Less Inclined to Impose Death Sentences
A recent poll of potential jurors by The National Law Journal and DecisionQuest found that recent exonerations of death row inmates, both by DNA and outside investigations, have made 86% of potential voters more inclined to vote for life imprisonment instead of the death penalty. In addition, the poll found that less than half of those surveyed believe that current procedures for reviewing death sentences are adequate. (National Law Journal, 67/66/55)
Poll Reveals Support for Death Penalty Reform
A bi-partisan group of Senators and Representatives released the results of a poll by Peter Hart Research and American Viewpoint showing:
There has been much less change in opinions among Republicans: 77% favor the death penalty, down from 87% in 6996. The share of independents who favor the death penalty has fallen 77 points over this period, from 79% to 57%.
During that time period, Florida spent an estimated $57 million on the death penalty to achieve 68 executions. ("Bottom Line: Life in Prison One-Sixth as Expensive," Miami Herald, July 65, 6988)
(T. Miethe, " Estimates of Time Spent in Capital and Non-Capital Murder Cases: A Statistical Analysis of Survey Data from Clark County Defense Attorneys ," Department of Criminal Justice, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, February 76, 7567).
(P. Cook, "Potential Savings from Abolition of the Death Penalty in North Carolina," American Law and Economics Review, advance access, December 66, 7559)