CJ490: Research Methods in Criminal Justice
Prof: Deborah Barrett
January 14, 2013
The average cost of defending a trial in a federal death case is $620,932, about 8 times that of a federal murder case in which the death penalty is not sought. A study found that those defendants whose representation was the least expensive, and thus who received the least amount of attorney and expert time, had an increased probability of receiving a death sentence. Defendants with less than $320,000 in terms of representation costs had a 44% chance of receiving a death sentence at trial. On the other hand, those defendants whose representation costs were higher than $320,000 had only a 19% chance of being sentenced to death. Thus, the study concluded that defendants with low representation costs were more than twice as likely to receive a death sentence (DPIC, 2012). Hypothesis:
The financial cost to taxpayers of capital punishment is several times that of keeping someone in prison for life. The independent variable would be Capital punishment is several times that of keeping someone in prison for life. The dependent variable would be the financial cost to taxpayers.
Background: The Cost of the Death Penalty
Concerns about cost emerge in varying ways depending on the jurisdiction. In California, where prosecutors have secured a significant number of death sentences over the years but a confluence of forces has prevented their culmination in executions, the death-row population has swelled to almost seven hundred inmates. Critics thus point to the extraordinary expense of housing the state's death-row population, with one recent article indicating that death-row incarceration costs the state an additional $90,000 per inmate, per yearPenalty,"1" and, more succinctly, "Save $1 Billion in Five Years End the Death Penalty in California." Other states...