Archive for Friday, January 29, 2010

Kansas Senate panel endorses measure to repeal state death penalty

January 29, 2010, 10:51 a.m. Updated January 29, 2010, 2:21 p.m.


— A Senate panel endorsed a bill Friday to repeal the Kansas death penalty, saying it’s a debate that legislators must conduct.

The 7-4 vote by the Judiciary Committee sends the bill to the full Senate The bill would eliminate the state’s 1994 death penalty law and would replace the crime of capital murder with aggravated murder, punishable by life in prison without parole.

However, it’s unclear if the House will even take up the matter. And if the Legislature were to pass the bill, it would go to Gov. Mark Parkinson, who helped write the death penalty law when he was a legislator.

Still, Judiciary Chairman Tim Owens said it was legislators’ duty to debate the death penalty and other serious issues and he wouldn’t vote to defeat the issue in committee.

“This truly is life and death that we are talking about, and I don’t think there is anything more serious that the Legislature can talk about,” said Owens, an Overland Park Republican.

Debate by the full Senate is expected in early February.

Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt cautioned the committee that it was unlikely the House would take up the issue, because it is wrestling with a projected budget shortfall of nearly $400 million for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The Senate debated a similar measure last year and wound up sending it back to committee over concerns about over numerous concerns, including how it would apply to those already under sentence of death. The current bill would not apply to the 10 men currently under death sentences in Kansas.

Schmidt, an Independence Republican, said it was unfair to victims’ families to force them to continue to come to Topeka to defend capital punishment.

“If you believe it’s not going to become law this year,” Schmidt said of the measure to repeal the death penalty, “stop it now and don’t drag people through more rounds this year.”

Not all family members of murder victims oppose the bill. Bill Lucero, of Topeka, whose father was killed in New Mexico in 1972, is a longtime capital punishment opponent who leads a support group for victims’ families.

He describes his opposition to the death penalty as pragmatic, saying it doesn’t help victims’ families. He said the passion for capital punishment from some family members often wanes as they heal. Lucero said the hurt will not go away, even if families aren’t compelled to testify before legislators or a parole board.

“I feel that pain,” Lucero said. “The process has to go forward. The debate has to happen. What will happen? I don’t know.”

No one has been executed under Kansas’ current death penalty law. The state last executed convicted murderers, by hanging, in 1965.

Although Parkinson helped draft the 1994 law, he said it was important for legislators to “closely examine whether it has been an effective crime deterrent and a tool for prosecutors.”


Kontum1972 8 years, 4 months ago

so what is the benefit too keeping these clowns alive...?

what is the expense to the state to keep them in prison, until they die?

I thought the state was having budget problems.....?

ksjayhawk74 8 years, 4 months ago

@ Kontum...

It actually costs much more to execute a prisoner than it does to incarcerate them for life.

Another benefit to keeping these clowns alive is that sometimes people are wrongly convicted of murders and later exonerated.

Also, when you kill a prisoner, you're letting them off the hook for punishment. Keep them alive in jail and they have to suffer their punishment for the rest of their life.

ksjayhawk74 8 years, 4 months ago

"Stimulus, PAD Torture and Posercare live unprecedented"... What does that even mean?

A life sentence in prison is not pleasant and is punishment fit for murder.

MyName 8 years, 4 months ago

With all of the automatic appeals and the fact that it takes 10+ years to go through the system, life w/out parole is actually cheaper than the death penalty.

MyName 8 years, 4 months ago


Still waiting for you to even write one single post that isn't a brainless troll. Is it really that hard.

Oh and again, no need to bless me, I haven't sneezed.

ivalueamerica 8 years, 4 months ago

Since 1973, over 130 people have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence. (Staff Report, House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil & Constitutional Rights, Oct. 1993, with updates from DPIC).

commonsense 8 years, 4 months ago

Expensive to administer? Please show us the facts. I would love to know how much it costs to administer! Expensive is housing one prioner for an entire year, let alone a life sentence! Expensive is the cost to tax payers who fit the bill for a legal system that allows these individuals to continue to live for nearly 10 years after being sentenced to death. Expensive is the toll it takes on the people who lost a loved one due to a brutal criminal attack. Funny how people are against the Death Penalty until something happens to a member of their family. It's a sad fact that there are people in this country who hide behind the law in order to prevent justice.

It costs $55.09 on average per day or $20,108 per year to keep an inmate in prison (FY0708) Most of the daily cost to incarcerate an inmate in a major prison is spent on security and medical services. The remaining 20% or so is spent on feeding, clothing and educating inmates, and some administrative issues.

A total of 8.5% of the state general revenue budget goes to corrections in Florida, which has a budget of more than two billion dollars. $1.47 billion of that goes directly toward security and institutional operations, and another $424 million toward health services for inmates, including mental health and dental care.

The cost of each prison varies, depending on the types of inmates who are housed there. For example, it costs $99.12 a day to house an inmate at a reception center, because the inmates residing there are being evaluated and tested medically, psychologically, academically, vocationally, etc. In contrast, a typical adult male facility costs just $44.96 per day to house an inmate (excluding private prisons). When you average all types of state prison facilities together like those listed in the chart below, the daily cost to house an inmate is $55.09.

ksjayhawk74 8 years, 4 months ago

commonsense, do a google search...

There is extensive information available about the cost of the death penalty vs. lifetime incarceration that includes information from several State's studies.

Here's some info from the State of Kansas...

"In its review of death penalty expenses, the State of Kansas concluded that capital cases are 70% more expensive than comparable non-death penalty cases. The study counted death penalty case costs through to execution and found that the median death penalty case costs $1.26 million. Non-death penalty cases were counted through to the end of incarceration and were found to have a median cost of $740,000. For death penalty cases, the pre-trial and trial level expenses were the most expensive part, 49% of the total cost. The costs of appeals were 29% of the total expense, and the incarceration and execution costs accounted for the remaining 22%. In comparison to non-death penalty cases, the following findings were revealed:

The investigation costs for death-sentence cases were about 3 times greater than for non-death cases.

The trial costs for death cases were about 16 times greater than for non-death cases ($508,000 for death case; $32,000 for non-death case).

The appeal costs for death cases were 21 times greater."

Here's a link...

Paul R Getto 8 years, 4 months ago

Good news. We don't need the death penalty. Only barbaric countries like China, Iraq and a few others still use it. Let 'em rot in jail; that's appropriate punishment.

Kirk Larson 8 years, 4 months ago

After thousands of years of the death penalty, people still kill each other. It is no deterrent. People don't usually think of the consequences when they commit crime anyway. The thought of being locked up for decades is more horrifying to me then just being snuffed.

Frank Smith 8 years, 4 months ago

Last year, Schmidt killed debate on this bill through a parlimentary manuver. He doesn't want the bill to pass or even to be debated, so he'll do anything he can to stop it.

Claiming that he doesn't want to have people coming each year to testify is something that's entirely within his control. If he allowed a vote, that would likely be the end of it.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 8 years, 3 months ago

Why doesn't this article tell us who voted for and against this measure?

verity 8 years, 3 months ago

Email your state representative and senator. If you can come here and post you can do that.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.