Violent crimes can often lead to the death penalty. Texas is one of 33 states that have capital punishment and has used it since 1819. According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), Texas has executed 492 convicted felons during the period of 1982 through November 16, 2012 (last update). To put this number in perspective, from 1976 to the present, U.S. executions total 1321. This means that more than a third of U.S. executions (37 percent) have occurred in Texas, and that calculation does not take into account the number of Texas prisoners executed from 1976 through 1982 prior to the TDCJ tracking statistics.
According to deathpenaltyinfo.org, all state governments combined spend billions of dollars on death penalty cases:
- One study showed California spent over $4 billion since 1978
- An average death penalty case in Maryland costs around $3 million
- Kansas estimates capital punishment cases are 70% more expensive than non-capital cases
- North Carolina spends $2.6 million per execution
- Texas spends an average of $2.3 million per case (per Dallas Morning Newsin 1992) which is triple the cost of imprisoning someone at the highest security level in a single cell for 40 years
The reason capital punishment is so costly is because authorities do not want to execute innocent individuals and consequently there is considerable expense created by a protracted judicial process for appeals and post-conviction actions. Replacing the death penalty with life-without-parole would save the nation billions of dollars.
If you or a loved one faces violent crime charges, seek legal help from an experienced El Paso criminal defense lawyer. Your future or life may hang in the balance.