The Baltimore Sun has "Death penalty has cost." LINK
Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy has been consistent about what she says it takes for her to seek a criminal's death, something she has done just twice in her 11 years on the job.
"It should be a case that is just so shocking to the conscience that it cries out for the death penalty," she said four years ago. Only a week ago, she reiterated that same point: "It should be reserved for those individuals who commit the most heinous crimes."
Some say budget problems are the biggest obstacle to more death penalty cases in the city. As Donald J. Giblin, a veteran city homicide prosecutor, says, "I don't have a moral problem with the death penalty; I have a resource problem with it."
Death penalty proceedings stretch out over the years and are hugely expensive, with the trial and penalty phases costing at least $500,000, prosecutors estimate. And that doesn't take into account what can become decades of appeals.
Jessamy says an informal office analysis showed that about 10 percent to 15 percent of 200 or so city homicide cases that come across prosecutors' desks each year qualify for the death penalty under state law.
That translates to more than 500 possible capital cases since 1978. Jessamy's defenders say she couldn't possibly seek capital punishment in all of the crimes that are eligible.
The Yakima Herald has "Death penalty a costly proposition." LINK
A possible death penalty case that has dragged on for more than a year and a half and has cost Yakima County taxpayers more than $1.1 million in defense costs is still months away from trial.
It's "possible" because Prosecuting Attorney Ron Zirkle has yet to decide whether to seek the death penalty against two men accused of aggravated first-
degree murder in the Feb. 20, 2005, shooting deaths of 21-year-old Ricky Causor and his 3-year-old daughter, Mya.
Considering that Zirkle might elect not to seek the death penalty, the delays and enormous costs in the case have caused plenty of grumbling at the courthouse. The county has not had a death penalty trial since 1989.
An AP story is in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, "Costs soar for possible death penalty case." LINK