In Indiana, Seeking the Death Penalty Is Expensive, Uncertain


Seeking the death penalty in Indiana has become an expensive proposition, and one that often doesn’t end with execution, reports the Evansville Courier & Press. Only 16 percent of Indiana’s death penalty cases — 30 out of 188 — filed from 1990 through 2009 ended in death sentences, according to the Indiana Public Defender Council. Such statistics have given death penalty foes a solid economic argument, and even supporters of the death penalty are calling for reforms to control skyrocketing defense costs often born by local and state governments.

In the last two decades, Vanderburgh County spent more than $800,000 defending death penalty cases, each more expensive than the last. Only one of the county’s last five death penalty trials resulted in an execution. “If there is something broken it is the courts’ allowance of a blank check for the defense,” said Clark County Prosecutor, Steven Stewart. “The No. 1 defense strategy is to make it as expensive and burdensome as they can.”

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