Higher costs, the exoneration of innocent death row inmates and jurors’ expectation of DNA proof are all being cited as reasons for prosecutors deciding not to seek the death penalty in Indiana. Recently, a high profile death penalty case cost the state $800,000 before it dropped the death penalty in exchange for a guilty plea and life-without-parole sentence. “It’s the taxpayer dollars, stupid, when it comes to the death penalty,” said Indiana defense attorney Bob Hammerle. “We’ve got a governor who says we don’t have enough money to pay for higher education. What sense does it make to spend millions of dollars trying to execute someone when it’s cheaper to keep someone in jail for the rest of their life?” Adding to the decline in the use of the death penalty, Steve Johnson, Executive Director of the Indiana Prosecuting Attorney’s Council, pointed to jurors’ reluctance to hand down death sentences. “I think there’s a greater hesitancy to pursue it and file it by prosecutors,” said Johnson. “I think among our group we talk about the CSI effect and if we don’t have the DNA—if we don’t have the physical evidence—I think juries tend to think that given the higher standard of proof that may apply anyway, that maybe this isn’t the strongest case of the death penalty.” See video below.

(“Death Penalty Days Numbered?” WXIN TV News, January 18, 2010). See Costs, New Voices, and Arbitrariness.