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.