Nevada's criminal justice system spends nearly twice as much handling death penalty cases compared with murder cases where capital punishment isn't sought, said a state-mandated study reported by the Las Vegas Sun. The report provides ammunition to death penalty opponents who have failed to defeat public support for capital punishment using moral objections.
From a suspect’s arrest through his or her final days, officials spend at least $1.3 million on death penalty cases, $532,000 more than cases where capital punishment wasn’t sought. There were 83 people sentenced to death in Nevada as of late last year. Prosecutors could have potentially saved an estimated $44 million by never pursuing capital punishment in those cases. Nevada’s per capita death penalty rate ranks fourth in the country and tops Texas and California, says the Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes capital punishment. Only a dozen people in Nevada have been executed since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the capital punishment in 1976. Of those, only one died against his will.