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Costs The New York DP ended several years ago (interesting post-Furman history!) - partly because of its very high cost -and this is largely because NY.

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Presentation on theme: "Costs The New York DP ended several years ago (interesting post-Furman history!) - partly because of its very high cost -and this is largely because NY."— Presentation transcript:

1 Costs The New York DP ended several years ago (interesting post-Furman history!) - partly because of its very high cost -and this is largely because NY appeals courts wouldn’t allow sham trials! (even some conservative Repubs in NY refused to support sham trial system!)

2 Costs Timothy McVeigh trial -- defense alone cost $13.8 million only up to conviction - appeals added several million more. Prosecution cost even more!! (Police investigation, trial, etc.) Total cost was well over $30 million!!

3 Costs DPIC material on cost and the article “Millions Misspent” are mostly anecdotal like this -- “stories” from state to state New Jersey first to abolish in a long time Illinois, New Mexico, more to come? California??

4 Costs So why is cost important? Crime policy is costing many billions of dollars (“imprisonment binge” and DP) Pulling money away from important social services – esp health, education, infrastructure (plus tax cuts for corps & rich!!) “double hit” on state budgets then the economic collapse

5 Costs Also, high cost leads to cost-cutting, and that leads to more problems -- like sham trials and mistakes. (most costs are paid at local level)

6 Costs A bigger problem underlying both -- Politics dominates US crime policy, and this is disastrous – politicians and media generate exaggerated fear of crime, then follow the mindless public response to unrealistic fear reinforced by corporations/unions that profit from policies. This costs huge amounts of money - and doesn’t work - makes problems worse.

7 Costs Much of the public believes that it costs less to execute than imprison capital defendants. Not true! Costs much more. When shown that it costs more, they think that it is mostly because of the cost of appeals. Also not true! Mostly cost of trials.

8 Costs Opponents of the DP increasingly promote LWOP (Life Without Parole) as a much less costly alternative. Also decreases problems - like discrim, execution of innocent, etc. (Public much less likely to favor DP if LWOP is offered as alternative)

9 Costs LWOP would be less costly - but in the long run it is still inefficient and bad policy. LWOP and Mistakes - usually no appeals!! (Nobody else does this!)

10 Costs General cost estimate of the alternative - long prison sentences. Median age at sentencing = 28 LE = 60's (lower than gen pop) 40 years x 25,000 year = $1 million Cost of “Life sentence”

11 Costs Note: Attorney & court costs are much lower because most cases are settled by a guilty plea (most cases involve substantial evidence) also there are very few appeals! Nothing to appeal in settled cases!

12 Costs Usual Estimate for DP cases: average $2 - 5 million per case by the end of the process (execution). (varies by state and locality - the more “sham” the trials are the cheaper the overall system)

13 Costs Components of cost (note: costs have increased since 1990s) (based on low-end hypothetical estimate) -- $1.5 million per complete case (doesn’t include the cost of other DP cases that do not end in execution - more later - “system costs”)

14 Costs Pre-trial: $150,000 (most paid by locals) More thorough police investigation (because of trial) Legal prep for indictment/motions/trial Experts/research/consulting/testimony (lab work, etc.).

15 Costs Trials: $600,000 (most paid by locals) Bifurcated trials (court costs for judge and staff) - costs of juries - prosecution trial costs (many atty hours) - witness/evidence costs (depositions, testimony, etc.) - defense costs (varies a lot!)

16 Costs State post-conviction appeals process: $200,000 (most paid by states) Some investigative costs, some attorney time, some court time

17 Costs Federal post-conviction appeals process: $300,000 (most paid by federal courts) (Note: includes prosecution costs for appeals preparation - paid by states)

18 Costs Pre-execution imprisonment: $250,000 5-15 years (avg 10) @ $25,000 year (paid by states)

19 Costs Costs of execution: usually negligible (execution workers, often prison lockdown, chemicals, publicity, etc.).

20 Costs TOTAL : $1.5 Million $3 Billion post-Furman extra cost (extra $.5 mill x 6000+ cases)

21 Costs System Costs But there are also other "system costs" - costs associated with having vs. not having a DP system – that are not related to individual cases. Having a DP system increases the costs of many other homicide cases.

22 Costs 8000+ sentences are result of about 25,000 DP trials 30% conviction & upheld death sent rate.

23 Costs Some defendants are acquitted at trial, Some are convicted but are not sentenced to death, Some retrials after cases overturned on appeal (about 40% of post-Furman cases overturned on appeal, most retried).

24 Costs If acquitted at trial, no cost of appeals -- so only partial cost. If convicted but prison, some appeals because of trial! (Because a trial was held, even those cases that did not result in death sentences are subject to appeal! -- unlike settled cases).

25 Costs If system costs are averaged into the total cost of cases that end up as DP cases, probably close to $3 mill per average "complete dp case" (nationwide low average estimate).

26 Costs Bottom line -- $15-20 billion extra cost nationwide for DP systems. Further: Largest part of costs paid by localities (counties) - Pre-trial & Trial expenses. Smaller part paid by state & federal (appeals). Much cost of DP paid up front (esp local costs) while prison costs are spread over many years.

27 Costs These costs also lead to other problems - attempts to cut costs lead to the problems of inadequate rep, discrimination, mistakes, shoddy appeals process, etc. This is also why only 20 counties in the US have generated a majority of the post-Furman executions - they are the ones that can afford the process!

28 Costs Is the DP worth the extra expense? Cost-Benefit analysis often applied to public policies. Incapacitation? Homicide recidivism is rare and the alternative is prison, which incapacitates as effectively as execution.

29 Costs Deterrence? Research indicates no deterrent effect, likely increases homicides (negates any incapacitation effect too).

30 Costs "Justice"/"Closure" for victims/survivors? Less than 5% of homicides are DP cases - are victims/survivors in other 95% of homicide cases devalued? (other 95% are disproportionately minority-victim cases).

31 Costs Cost is not the most important aspect of the DP -- but it is part of a larger problem (a shoddy system) because it wastes public resources and provides no public benefits -- cost contributes to those problems as well, in the form of cost-cutting to save public money.

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