Scot Kersgaard of the Colorado Independent writes, "Colorado's Death Penalty: Spending Millions To Execute Almost No One." It's via HuffPost Denver. For those looking for details about the Colorado capital punishment experience, it's a must:read. Here's the beginning:
With a bill to repeal the death penalty likely to be introduced in the 2013 Colorado Legislature, there are bound to be philosophical arguments about the merits of capital punishment. One thing that seems beyond debate, though, is that ending the death penalty could save Colorado taxpayers a lot of money.
No one can say exactly how much Colorado spends administering its death penalty, but it is certainly in the tens of millions of dollars for each person executed. A study by the Death Penalty Information Center in 2009 found that states with a death penalty spend an average of $10 million a year enforcing it. That same study said that 70 percent of the expense stems from legal work that’s not necessary in non-capital cases. Considering that Colorado executed one man in 1967 and one in 1997, the cost associated with killing almost no one quickly adds up.
“Since 1980, we (Colorado taxpayers) have spent tens of millions of dollars on one execution,” said criminal defense attorney David Lane who has represented many death-penalty eligible clients. “That’s money that could go to schools. It could go to police officers.”
One man alone, Nathan Dunlap, is said to have cost the state around $18 million so far in trial costs and attorney fees. Dunlap–convicted in 1996 of the 1993 killing of four people at an Aurora Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurant–is still on death row.
Earlier coverage of Colorado's possible consideration of repeal in 2013 begins at the link. Also available, coverage of the state's Aurora theater shooting case.