January 16 2007, 9:18 PM
Now, here's a law I can get behind. Rep. Paul Weissman (D-Louisville) has introduced a bill to end the death penalty. The savings would be used to solve "cold cases."
In my mind, the money would be better spent actually solving many of the unsolved homicides in the state," the bill's author, Rep. Paul Weissmann, D-Louisville, said Monday. "While people debate the morality of the death penalty, it's economically cheaper, frankly, to sentence someone to a life in prison without parole."I wonder if Coloradans are aware of the cost of the death penalty.
A combined $3.8 million annually is spent on death penalty cases by the Colorado attorney general, state district attorneys and public defenders, according to a January 2003 report by then-Attorney General Ken Salazar.Even House Republican Minority Leader Mike May, who does not support a repeal, acknowledged today there are serious problems with the application of the death penalty. Wrongful convictions, as evidenced years later by DNA testing and racial discrimination are two of them. Colorado provides for mandatory life in prison without parole (called LWOP) for first degree murder. I think that's the equivalent of a death sentence. After all, with LWOP, the prisoner doesn't come out except in a pine box. It's really just a matter of timing.