Indiana Prosecutors Say "We're running out of death row inmates," Citing High Costs of Death Penalty

Indiana is sentencing fewer people to death and executing at its slowest pace in 15 years.  It has gone two years without an execution for the first time since the mid-1990’s. "We're running out of death row inmates," said Clark County Prosecutor Steven Stewart, who maintains a pro-death penalty Web site.  Prosecutors attribute the decline to time and money issues, part of a national trend that has prompted several states to move towards abolishing the death penalty.  Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Stan Levco said he has more reservations about seeking the death penalty than he did 15 years ago due to the rising costs. "There's more than a few small counties that have filed death penalty cases who after they've gone through it for a while have just thrown up their hands and have said, 'I give."'  While most officials expect executions to resume, Indiana defense attorney Alan Freedman finds the two-year absence of executions to be a sign of things to come, saying, "The death penalty in Indiana will become an oddity."

(T. Coyne, "Indiana Executions at slowest pace in 15 years," Chicago Tribune, June 14, 2009).  Over the past six years, Indiana has averaged less than one death sentence per year.  See Sentencing and Costs