(Victor Joecks, Las Vegas Review-Journal) – There’s a compelling conservative case to be made against the death penalty, but it’s not what you think.
Assemblyman James Ohrenschall, D-Las Vegas has introduced AB237, which would abolish the death penalty in Nevada and reduce the sentences of those on death row to life without the possibility of parole. It’s up for a hearing Wednesday in Assembly Judiciary. In Nevada, prosecutors can only seek the death penalty for those convicted of aggravated first-degree murder.
The most common arguments against the death penalty aren’t that persuasive. As Ben Botkin reported Sunday, death penalty opponents often cite the cost as the driving reason for eliminating it. Death penalty cases cost about $1.3 million, while a non-death-penalty murder case costs $775,000. That’s not an insignificant amount of money, but government’s primary job is to secure the life, liberty and property of its citizens. That’s always going to cost taxpayers. We shouldn’t allow criminals to expect lighter sentences because society is too cheap to ensure a just consequence.
Another objection is that Nevada doesn’t have the drugs it needs to perform executions. But this is a logistical hurdle, not a valid critique of the death penalty as a policy. It’s also possible to overcome. Other states authorize executions by hanging or firing squad.