Saturday, February 2, 2008

Death Penalty Shocking Cost Study January 2008

Cost Study in Illinois Released
Dated 2/2/2008 - A cost study was recently done in Illinois. It was compiled by Elliot Slosar who is a co-founder of the Abolition in Illinois Movement. The study reveals the shocking amount of funds that go into Illinois' death penalty system. I have attached the Executive Summary to this post...
Executive Summary

Since the inception of the Capital Litigation Trust Fund in 2000, the State of Illinois has disbursed $148,344,735. The 2008 budget for the Capital Litigation Trust Fund is $15,732,553 -- $6,691,200 of which is earmarked for capital cases in Cook County alone.

With an allocation of $65,249,900 since the inception of the trust fund, Cook County has sent six men to death row. The County has actually spent $32,677,089.34, which is an average cost of $5,446,181 per death sentence obtained. Cook County has already spent $1,719,823.19 trying capital cases in 2008.

The 49 counties (excluding Cook) that have used the Capital Litigation Trust Fund have so far spent $20,076,940.63. 13 counties (excluding Cook) in Illinois have accounted for over 73% of this expenditure. Greater Illinois has sentenced seven people to death row with this money, which is an average cost of $2,868,134 per death sentence obtained

The costs of the initial trial defense for those on death row varied from $10,627.50 (Laurence Lovejoy) to $2,041,895.65 (Cecil Sutherland).

Last May, Juan Luna was convicted in a Cook County courtroom of killing seven people. His appointed Counsel spent $941,331.60 in preparation for his trial defense.

Since the inception of the Capital Litigation Trust Fund, the common misconception has been that an overwhelming amount of monies that the fund disbursed went directly towards counties in Illinois in order to prosecute and defend capital cases. Yet, that distribution accounts for only 60% of the actual money allocated from the trust fund. In only eight years, in addition to the State’s Attorneys, Public Defenders, and appointed Counsel, another $56,321,894.37 was used to administer capital punishment in the State of Illinois.

One private attorney, John Paul Carroll, attracted by the Capital Litigation Trust Fund to come to Illinois from Connecticut, billed for $870,998.49, in a retrial. His private investigator, Michael Fleming, also tapped the trust fund for $515,998.49. The defendant, Cecil Sutherland, still ended up on death row.

In 2003, the State’s Attorney of DeWitt County charged Amanda Hamm and Maurice Lagrone with murdering her three children. Prosecutors changed their minds three different times about trying Hamm and Lagrone in a capital case. After spending $2,230,246.65, Hamm was not convicted of murder and Lagrone was found ineligible for the death penalty.

The allocation of $148,344,735, in just eight years, has landed just 13 individuals on death row. That is a cost of $11,411,133.46 per death sentence obtained. Even more alarming, this does not include the majority of appeals costs, incarceration, or any portion of execution expenses in Illinois. You can find the entire report at this website link...

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