Attorney General Doug Peterson again is disputing an economist’s projection that the death penalty costs Nebraska $14.6 million a year.
Peterson has criticized the estimate by Creighton University Economist Ernie Goss previously.
Now, he is more thorough in his response, attacking the notion that appeals in death penalty cases cost his office more.
“Eliminating the death penalty will not reduce the number of appeals available to convicted murderers,” Peterson tells reporters during a news conference. “Of the approximate 500 criminal appeals that we do a year in this office, less than 1% are filed in death penalty cases.”
Goss released his cost estimate earlier. It has been touted by Retain A Just Nebraska, which is campaigning to retain the Unicameral’s repeal of the death penalty during the 2015 legislative session. Nebraska voters in November will decide whether to repeal the repeal or allow the legislation to stand.
Peterson calls the Goss estimate “extremely inaccurate,” claiming it is based on faulty numbers often taken from other states, not Nebraska, leading to the $14.6 million price tag.
“That would suggest, conclude that Nebraska’s 10 death row inmates generate $1.4 million dollars in cost a year,” Peterson says, pausing before adding. “That simply does not make sense.”
Peterson says prosecutors in Nebraska handle numerous murder cases and rarely seek the death penalty.
“And we do recognize when you go forward to seek the death penalty there may be additional costs, but what really drives the costs of any first degree murder case is the complexity of the case and to suggest otherwise is not accurate, based upon on our own experience and based upon the information provided in the history of these 10 cases,” Peterson says, referring to the 10 inmates on death row in Nebraska.
Click here for a link to the Attorney General’s report.
AUDIO: Attorney General Doug Peterson news conference. [13 min.]