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NEW VOICES: Illinois Judge Testifies that Death Penalty Too Costly to Keep
Posted: January 15, 2009
Retired Cook County Judge Sheila Murphy testified at the Chicago Bar Association Committee that the costs of the death penalty were too high for Illinois. “We’re in just terrible economic times,” Judge Murphy said. “The state of Illinois is in deep trouble, and we should not be squandering money on the death penalty when they’re such a great need – not just with victims but with the elderly, with children, for healthcare, and for education.” Judge Murphy cited studies that have shown the cost of sentencing someone to death was much more expensive than a sentence of life in prison without parole due to the costs of prosecution, appeals, and legal defense. In addition, the city of Chicago and the State of Illinois are paying the extra costs of multi-million dollar payouts for wrongful death sentences, the latest being $7.5 million to exonerated death penalty inmate Madison Hobley.
The Chicago Bar Association Committee has unanimously recommended abolishing the death penalty in Illinois. With a 10-0 vote, the group’s criminal law committee, recommended doing away with the death penalty due in part to the increased costs of capital punishment over life in prison and the risks of executing an innocent person.
RESOURCES: The Angolite Explores Capital Punishment Internationally
Posted: January 14, 2009
The prison news magazine The Angolite features an in-depth piece on the use of capital punishment around the world in its recent issue. Citing a 2008 Amnesty International report, the article notes that China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, and the United States lead the world in executions. Japan, the only other industrialized democracy besides the U.S. that uses capital punishment, averages five executions a year but is known for inhumane death row conditions. Author and inmate Lane Nelson details the conditions, the methods, and the controversies surrounding capital punishment in China, Iran, and Japan.
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