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Argument: Costs of capital punishment are irrelevant to justice

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Supporting evidence

New Jersey Senator John F. Russo (D), "Don't Abolish the Death Penalty, Fix it", Baltimore Sun, 3/1/07 - "It doesn't matter what it costs. The taking of a human life is something far too important to be influenced either way by costs. Similarly, it has been said that the death penalty diverts resources from services for victims. Whether or not the state has the death penalty, victims of violent crime can and should be given appropriate services to cope with their loss."


Thomas R. Eddlem. "Ten anti-death penalty fallacies". The New American. June 3, 2002 - "FALLACY #2: Cost

"It costs more to execute a person than to keep him or her in prison for life. A 1993 California study argues that each death penalty case costs at least $1.25 million more than a regular murder case and a sentence of life without the possibility of parole." (deathpenalty.org)

Correction: While these figures are dubious at best, this argument deserves no response. Justice isn't up for sale to the lowest bidder."


Ernest van den Haag, John M. Olin Professor of Jurisprudence and Public Policy, Fordham University. "The Ultimate Punishment: A Defense'". Harvard Law Review Association. 1986 - Many nondecisive issues are associated with capital punishment. Some believe that the monetary cost of appealing a capital sentence is excessive (18). Yet most comparisons of the cost of life imprisonment with the cost of life imprisonment with the cost of execution, apart from their dubious relevance, are flawed at least by the implied assumption that life prisoners will generate no judicial costs during their imprisonment. At any rate, the actual monetary costs are trumped by the importance of doing justice.

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