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Illinois, Indiana Officials Examine Death Penalty

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INDIANAPOLIS (CBS/WBBM) Officials in both Illinois and Indiana are taking another look at the death penalty.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Debra Dale reports, the high cost and potential for error has lawmakers reconsidering the ultimate punishment.

The Northwest Indiana Times reports state Attorney General Greg Zoeller would like to get rid of the death penalty because it is straining already tight budgets.

But Indiana lawmakers appear unlikely to repeal the death penalty anytime soon.

Illinois has had a moratorium on executions since 2000, but still spends millions on death penalty trials.


LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Debra Dale Reports

In a Chicago Sun-Times op-ed earlier this month, Rob Warden, executive director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law, explained that it actually costs more to execute a convict than to keep someone in prison for life.

Capital cases result in “extraordinary expenses” due to the extra investigation required to determine whether a defendant is among the “worst of the worst” who should be executed, Warden wrote. A Maryland study indicated that this can amount to $37.2 million in taxpayer dollars per execution, he wrote.

Warden also claimed that executions do not deter crime, given that murders have declined in Illinois over the past decade even though a death penalty moratorium is in place.

On Monday, members of the Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty rallied in Springfield to urge lawmakers to vote in favor of a bill, SB 3539, that would repeal the death penalty in Illinois. A vote on the bill may come during the fall veto session.

WBBM Newsradio 780’s Debra Dale contributed to this report.