The Cost of the Death Penalty in Maryland

Abstract

This study assesses the death penalty's costs to Maryland taxpayers by examining a sample of the 1,136 death-eligible murder cases occurring between 1978 and 1999. We find that an average capital-eligible case in which prosecutors did not seek the death penalty will cost approximately $1.1 million over the lifetime of the case. A capital-eligible case in which prosecutors unsuccessfully sought the death penalty will cost $1.8 million and a capital-eligible case resulting in a death sentence will cost approximately $3 million. In total, we forecast that the lifetime costs to Maryland taxpayers of these capitally-prosecuted cases will be $186 million.

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