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Archive for Wednesday, May 7, 2003

Costly penalty

May 7, 2003

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To the editor:

As a member of the board for the Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty, I have many reasons to be opposed to this unfair punishment, which is either outlawed or not practiced in 111 countries around the world. However, in such a budget-tight era for Kansas, the cost factor has to be considered seriously, even by those who support the death penalty.

The death penalty is extremely expensive and costs more than incarceration. Former Atty. Gen. Jim Mattox of Texas, a death penalty supporter who had 36 executions during his tenure, noted it was three times as expensive to seek the death penalty as to put someone in prison for 40 years.

State Sen. Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, said he was concerned by the money legislators must provide for the Board of Indigent Defense Services, the agency that provides lawyers for poor defendants.

Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Kay McFarland recently said no other case was even a close second to the amount of time the court spent on the first death penalty case. Three more cases are headed to the court.

My brother, former Kansas Gov. John Carlin, vetoed the death penalty four times, saying that capital punishment failed to meet three standards necessary for punishment in a civilized society: rehabilitation, punishment and deterrence. Today, I'm sure he'd look at yet another reason -- cost.

Ann Carlin Ozegovic,

Lawrence

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