Davis HayEGL 099-116October 25, 2018George T Vaughn, Professor Capital Punishment has been around for centuries, long before our country was born. The United States has had the death penalty as a punishment for crime since its inception. The first execution in America took place in 1612, long before we truly became our own entity. Though executing someone hasn’t always been expensive, it sure is now. States spend hundreds of thousands sometimes millions of dollars on the defense of and prosecution of criminals. It isn’t cheap to kill someone for their crimes anymore. Due to the ludicrous costs of cases where the death penalty is sought, Capital Punishment should stay illegal in the state of Illinois. Capital Punishment cases place a devastating monetary load on local governments.
Because of the cost for these cases, small local governments, such as counties, may have to increase taxes in order to cover the costs. They may even have to lay off state workers that provide a very important service such as police officers or firefighters. For example, In Sierra County, California the local government had to lay off police officers to cover for the cost of death penalty prosecutions. The County’s District Attorney said that they would be able to hire a few more deputies if they didn’t have to pay $500,000 per case. Because of this the county was losing lots of cash and was soon to be broke(Millions Misspent). The cost of these cases is a financial nightmare for small local governments; they can’t afford to pay such large bills.
Most likely they would have to lay off workers and start taxing their citizens to scrounge for the needed cash. Personnel that are involved in cases where the death penalty is sought have to be paid for their work. The amount of people that are involved in the process is quite a bit, and the amount of taxpayer money spent on this is disappointing. For instance, Dennis Alvarez Hernandez was a man who was convicted for a murder. The state of New York had to pay for his defense. Hernandez was awarded the death penalty for his crimes, so the case ended up requiring even more lawyers to try and save the man (Zhao).
The amount of money spent on this case was upward of a million U.S. dollars, substantially more than a life sentence case.
Without the death penalty that money could be spent on other projects the government has planned. They could also cut taxes, something that most people would prefer. Capital Punishment is a heavy topic for people to talk about to this day. People have been proven innocent after spending years of their life waiting for the day that they will die. Others have already been executed and were only proven innocent after the fact. Executing criminals may be what we as a society consider justice but it isn’t that simple. As taxpayers we spend thousands of dollars to execute these individuals for a crime they may or may not have committed. The cost of sentencing criminals to capital punishment is just too much.
That money is better spent elsewhere. Capital Punishment should stay illegal in Illinois and us taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for the costs of what some of us may not believe in. Works cited”Millions Misspent: What Politicians Don’t Say About the High Costs of the Death Penalty.
” Millions Misspent: What Politicians Don’t Say About the High Costs of the Death Penalty | Death Penalty Information Center, deathpenaltyinfo.org/millions-misspent.Zhao, Yilu. “THE LAW; Counting Up the Costs of a Death-Penalty Trial.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 8 June 2003, www.nytimes.com/2003/06/08/nyregion/the-law-counting-up-the-costs-of-a-death-penalty-trial.html.