Risk and Execution: The Local Impact of Capital Cases on Mississippi Counties
Valena Elizabeth Beety
West Virginia University - College of Law
March 20, 2013
82 Miss. L.J. 1337 (2013)
WVU Law Research Paper No. 2013-4
Mississippi codified the death penalty because people thought a death sentence was a fair punishment for the most heinous of crimes. And, as predicted by behavioral economics, people were willing to sacrifice their own material well-being — in other words, willing to pay — to punish wrongdoers.
But the death penalty is not fair. Regardless of whether the death penalty is a just punishment, the financial toll that this policy places on citizens and counties is unfair. Because citizens have continually paid the costs of punishment, the costs have slowly disappeared from sight and knowledge in correlation to their growth. As the cost of a death penalty trial rises through subsequent appeals, counties must levy additional taxes to pay trial expenses, instead of using these taxes to pay for paving roads or repairing bridges. Few officials discuss the financial burden and consequences of the death penalty. This Article seeks to remedy that silence.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 39
Keywords: death penalty, Mississippi, criminal justice, capital cases
Date posted: March 21, 2013 ; Last revised: September 3, 2014