CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Beety on the Local Impact of Capital Cases

Betty valenaValena Elizabeth Beety (West Virginia University - College of Law) has posted Risk and Execution: The Local Impact of Capital Cases on Mississippi Counties (Mississippi Law Journal, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Mississippi codified the death penalty because people thought it was fair. Mississippians thought a death sentence was a fair punishment for the most heinous of crimes. And, as predicted by behavioral economics, people were willing to sacrifice their own material well-being – willing to pay – to punish wrongdoers.

But the death penalty is not fair. While it may or may not be just for the inmates, it’s not fair for the financial toll it takes on citizens and counties.

Because citizens have been willing to pay the costs of punishment, the costs have slowly disappeared from sight and knowledge, in correlation to their growth. As it costs more to pay for a death penalty trial and appeals, and counties levy additional taxes and fail to pave roads or repair bridges, fewer and fewer officials discuss the financial burden of the death penalty. This article seeks to remedy that silence.

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