Indiana lawmakers say they are more likely to try to find ways to help counties pay for death penalty cases than to abolish executions to save money, reports the Associated Press. Abolition is “not going to happen,” said state Sen. John Broden, D-South Bend. He added, “In an era of declining revenues, we either need to come up with a way to fund future death penalty cases or take a look at other options. I guess everything is on the table right now.”
The comments were in response to an assertion earlier in the week by Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller that lawmakers should look at whether the costs of death penalty cases are justifiable in tough economic times. A recent analysis by a nonpartisan group found that the average cost for trial and direct appeal in six capital cases was $449,887, not including the costs incurred by prosecutors or sheriffs. That compares with an average cost of $42,658 for seven trials in cases involving sentences of life without parole. Indiana has executed 20 inmates since it reinstated the death penalty in 1977, and 11 more are awaiting execution.