The economic downturn will hurt most people, but others could find that it’s a real lifesaver :
When Gov. Martin O’Malley appeared before the Maryland Senate last week, he made an unconventional argument that is becoming increasingly popular in cash-strapped states: Abolish the death penalty to cut costs.
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The economic realities have forced even longtime supporters of the death penalty, like Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, to rethink their positions.
Mr. Richardson, a Democrat, has said he may sign a bill repealing capital punishment that passed the House last week and is pending in a Senate committee. He cited growing concerns about miscarriages of justice, but he added that cost was a factor in his shifting views and was “a valid reason in this era of austerity and tight budgets.”
Capital cases are expensive because the trials tend to take longer, they typically require more lawyers and more costly expert witnesses, and they are far more likely to lead to multiple appeals.