A death sentence may be a thing of the past if the recession has anything to do with it. Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley is telling states that are cash poor to abolish the death penalty to cut costs.
O'Malley is using a bit of logic when he says to slash the death penalty and a bit of his own religious convictions. The fact is according to the Catholic politician that homicide cases that seek a death sentence cost three times more than when the highest sentencing is life in prison.
"It is time to ask whether public executions, even of the guilty, are consistent with the future we prefer for our children's world. Our free and diverse republic was founded not on fear and retribution. It was born from higher things, rooted in unalienable rights endowed by our creator -- freedom, justice and the dignity of the individual," he said.
He's not alone, lawmakers in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and New Hampshire are using the same reasoning. Experts are expecting bills to repeal the death penalty will pass in Maryland, Montana and New Mexico.
Some states are looking at early releases for nonviolent offenders to cut costs.
Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico is not using the profit line though in his state's repeal of capital punishment, rather the concerns of miscarriages of justice.
Capital cases cost much more for the state. Along with the standard witnesses when a person is on trial for their life costly expert witnesses come on board. That and the multiple appeals that follow end up taking more and more out of state funding.
After all is said and paid for most that are given the death sentence end up with a life sentence in the end.
Still there are opponents to repealing capital punishment.
The New York Times reports:
“How do you put a price tag on crimes that don’t happen because threat of the death penalty deters them?” said Scott Shellenberger, the state’s attorney for Baltimore County, Md., who opposes the repeal bill.