The Los Angeles Times has an article this morning about the cost of the death penalty. The article transparently exaggerates the cost of capital punishment as an alternative to life without the possibility of parole (LWOP). The article is a perfect example of how ideological bias can prevent reporters and editors from spotting clear errors in their logic.
The article’s most egregious error is including the entire amount spent on capital appeals — about $56.5 million per year — as a “cost” of the death penalty. The piece simply tallies up the total amount spent on appeals by defendants facing death, and tells readers that every penny of that sum is attributable to capital punishment — as if convicted murderers facing LWOP don’t also appeal their convictions at state expense.
And that’s just the beginning. The article completely ignores other potential savings of the death penalty, essentially assigning them a dollar value of zero.
Here are the details: