Commentary: Time to end costly death penalty

This editorial appeared in The Kansas City Star. The death penalty law Kansas enacted in 1994 has not yet resulted in an execution. But it has been a money drain.

One study found the state spent 70 percent more to investigate and litigate cases that resulted in death sentences than it spent to try murder cases that didn't involve a death sentence.

With the state combing its budget for savings, some astute lawmakers have lighted upon the high price of death sentences. The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote today on whether to recommend that Kansas end executions. A "yes" vote would be good for the state.

The costs of capital punishment are more than monetary. Death penalty prosecutions and appeals exact a toll on families of crime victims and communities. A state loses some of its humanity with the taking of a human life.

The risks of irrevocable errors in justice and of inadequate legal counsel also weigh against death penalty laws. And research does not support the idea that death penalties act as a deterrent.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Kansas City Star.

Related stories from McClatchy DC