A decade after Georgia legislators established the sentencing option of life in prison without parole, the number of Georgia defendants sentenced to death has dropped from an annual average of 10 to 4 or fewer each year. The decline is the result of jurors opting to sentence defendants to life without parole and plea bargains in capital cases. District Attorney J. Tom Morgan noted that life without parole is in effect a death sentence: “It takes a little bit longer, but it is more certain [because of appeals of death sentences].” Prosecutors also indicated that it allows divided juries to agree on a verdict. Over the past 10 years, 369 people in Georgia have been sentenced to life without parole, and 162 of them pleaded guilty. In DeKalb County, where jurors have not issued a death sentence since life without parole became a sentencing option in 1963, Morgan says that jurors are choosing the alternative sentence because of lingering doubts that an innocent person may be executed. Michael Mears, the new head of the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council, pointed to another benefit of life without parole sentences: they are significantly less expensive than the death penalty. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, December 28, 2003). See Life Without Parole; DPIC’s 2003 Year End Report.