Death penalty cost

Idea behind Senate Bill 208 is to help save the state money by eliminating the death penalty.

As the lawmakers are debating the issue, they frequently reference a 2003 study that showed it was more expensive to prosecute capital punishment cases.

Here is the document they are talking about: Death Penalty Costs.

Death penalty debate begins in the Senate

The Senate has begun debating a bill that would end executions in Kansas for cases sentenced after July 1, 2009

Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick conceived Senate Bill 208 as a way to save money for cash-strapped Kansas. Opponents of the death penalty maintain that cases involving capital punishment cost the state more money than similar cases where death is not part of the equation.

Kansas reinstated the death penalty in 1994. Currently, 10 men are serving time on death row. The state’s last execution was in 1965.

The issue is the only topic scheduled for debate in the Senate today.

An audio feed of the debate is available online at the Senate’s webpage.

Death penalty debate in the Senate this afternoon

TOPEKA – The full Senate is scheduled to debate a proposal to abolish the death penalty this afternoon.

The chamber convenes at 2:30 p.m. and the Senate Bill 208 is the only item set for discussion.

The measure would abolish the death penalty for cases sentenced after July 1, 2009. Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, proposed the bill as a cost-saving measure.

Supporters of abolishing the death penalty maintain that the cases are costly and do not deter crime.

The state reinstated the death penalty in 1994. While there are currently 10 men on death row, the state has not executed anyone since 1965.

Leaders on both sides of the aisle have said they don’t have a feel for how the votes might turn out.

The debate will be broadcast over the web, a link is at the Senate’s web pages.

For more on the debate, keep checking Wichitopekington for blog updates.

Families of Carr victims: Don’t abolish death penalty

TOPEKA – Standing with Attorney General Steve Six on Thursday, family members of the Carr brothers’ victims joined him in urging lawmakers not to abolish the death penalty.

On Monday, Senate Bill 208 is scheduled to for debate on the Senate floor. The proposal would abolish the death penalty for cases sentenced after July 1, 2009.

Six worried that the change could mean that death row inmates currently appealing their sentences – such as Michael Marsh and Gavin Scott – could be exempted from execution.

Family members also worried that Reginald and Jonathan Carr could escape the death penalty through appeals, if the law were changed.

It is’t about cost or closure, said Amy Scott, who was dating Brad Heyka, one of four people kidnapped and shot execution style on a Wichita soccer field in 2000 by brothers Jonathan and Reginald Carr. A fifth person survived. The Carrs have been on death row since 2002.

“We’re never going to have closure because we’ve lost the people we loved so much,” she said. “I just think this is a matter of justice. This just needs to be finished to the end.”

The proposal comes from Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, who says all cost-saving measures should be considered while the state faces a budget crunch.

Prosecutors, such as Six, have argued that the cases do not necessarily cost more and justice should not be predicated on expense.

He urged Kansans to contact their lawmakers and express opposition to banning the death penalty.

Kansas has 10 men on death row. No one has been executed since the death penalty was reinstated in 1994.

Death penalty floor debate Monday in the Senate

The Senate will debate a measure to abolish the state’s death penalty on Monday.

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Derek Schmidt, R-Independence, said the issue was the only item scheduled for debate that day.

Senate Bill 208 would abolish the death penalty for cases sentenced after July 1, 2009.

The proposal comes from Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, who says all cost-saving measures should be considered while the state faces a budget crunch.

Opponents of capital punishment say the death penalty is expensive and does not act as a crime deterrent.

Supporters of the death penalty say the decision should not be based on cost alone.

It the measure were to pass the Senate, it would still have to clear the House before heading to the governor’s desk. Time could be a problem. Lawmakers only have three weeks left in this year’s session.

Death penalty bill up for committee vote

TOPEKA – The Senate Judiciary Committee could vote on a bill abolishing executions in Kansas this morning.

The measure, Senate Bill 208, would eliminate the death penalty as an option for cases sentenced after July 1, 2009.

Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, conceived the bill as a way to save cash-strapped Kansas some money in a tight budget year.

Execution opponents have argued that death penalty cases are more expensive to try and do not deter crime.

Supporters of the death penalty have said a price should not be put on justice.

Don’t put a price on justice, death penalty supporters say

The death penalty should not be evaluated based on its cost, opponents to a bill that would abolish the punishment in Kansas argued on Friday.

“You can’t put a price on justice,” assistant solicitor general Kristafer Ailslieger told the Senate Judiciary Committee during a second day of hearings.

Ailslieger, speaking for the Kansas Attorney General’s office, also said that the savings supporters of Senate Bill 208tout are based on estimates not hard numbers.

The bill would abolish the death penalty as of July 1, although people sentenced before that date could still be sent to death row.

The proposal is the brain child of Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, who has said that with the state in a budget crunch all cost saving measures must be considered.

Kansas reinstated the death penalty in 1994, since then 12 men have been sentenced to death. Currently, 10 men are on death row and no one has been executed in the state since 1965.

Supporters of the bill argued on Thursday, that the death penalty did not deter crime and was costly. The money could be better spent preventing crimes or improving public safety, they argued.

Committee Chairman Sen. Tim Owens, R-Overland Park, said he planned for the committee to vote Wednesday if it would send the bill to the full Senate for consideration.

Senate committee to resume death penalty discussion, vote possible

A Senate committee is scheduled to resume hearing testimony on a bill that would abolish Kansas’ death penalty.

The measure, Senate Bill 208, is an effort by Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, to do away with the sentence. She and other supporters of the bill say the death penalty is expensive to defend and prosecute, and point out no one has been executed since the law was reinstated in 1994.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will likely hear from opponents to the measure today. Those include Kansas Attorney General Stephen Six and Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston.

The committee could vote Friday on whether or not to send the bill to the full Senate.

McGinn’s death penalty opposition garners national attention

TOPEKA – Sen. Carolyn McGinn’s effort to abolish the death penalty to save money for cash-strapped Kansas is garnering national attention.

The Sedgwick Republican was interviewed Thursday for a segment that is scheduled to run 5:30 p.m. Friday on the World News with Charlie Gibson, she said.

McGinn’s Senate Bill 208 would abolish the death penalty for cases sentenced after July 1.

Kansas is one of eight states considering such a measure. While the state reinstituted the death penalty in 1994, no one has been executed since 1965.

The Senate Judiciary Committee held its first day of hearings on the measure Thursday and will hear more testimony Friday and could vote on sending the bill to the full Senate for debate.

Supporters of the bill say evidence shows death penalty cases are costly to prosecute and do not deter crime. Opponents say the state should retain the option of a death penalty case for the most heinous crimes.

With 42 states facing deficits in their upcoming budgets, more lawmakers are looking for ways to save money. Kansas could be $1 billion in the red for the 2010 budget year which starts July 1.

“People are starting to dig deep into the budget to see what laws we have on the book and are they doing what we set out to do,” McGinn said.