Over the past 13 years, the Colorado Public Defender’s office has spend a combined $6.3 million on death penalty cases. From 2002-2015 Public Defenders handled 10 cases in which an intent to seek the death penalty was filed. The two most recent cases were for James Holmes, and Dexter Lewis. Both men were spared the Death Penalty and were instead sentenced to life in prison. Of the $6.3 million spent, $4.3 was spent in salaries related to handling the death penalty. While I applaud the hard work demonstrated by the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office, they were forced into these expenses by the Prosecutor’s offices refusing to accept life in prison sentences.
This cost is a burden to the tax payers and citizens of the State. Missing from that $6.3 million is the cost of incarceration during trial, and any money spent on the prosecution for those 10 trials. That money could have been used in many other, more productive ways. Instead, it was spent on the idea that the State should take more lives after such tragedies. Time and time again, criminologists have proven that the Death Penalty is not a crime deterrent. In fact, most individuals contemplate their demise before the commission of such heinous acts; drug dealers may be killed by rivals or shooters will likely be killed by the police. This money was spent re-actively instead of pro-actively. The money spent on these trials would have had a better return on investment for the taxpayers if it was used proactively to improve our mental health system, drug and alcohol recovery programs and other community projects designed to reduce future crime. The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani specialize in the area of Criminal Defense. Call our Denver office today for a Free Consultation.
Cite: Jordan Steffen, The Denver Post, 12/01/0215