Friday, September 15, 2006

William W. Wilkins, chief judge of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, says death penalty is here to stay

From the Richmond Times Dispatch:

"I think the death penalty will be around for a long time," Wilkins said. "But I think you're going to see escalating costs." Those opposing the death penalty argue the money can be better spent elsewhere, he said.

"It costs a lot of money for the federal and the state governments to prosecute somebody for the death penalty," Wilkins said. In Florida, such cases average about $22 million, he said.

Wilkins, a former prosecutor, has been involved in 96 death-penalty cases as an attorney or judge. He is chief judge of the Richmond, Va.-based federal court that hears appeals of federal cases from the Carolinas, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.

He said while polls show a majority of Americans favor the death penalty, jurors impose capital punishment in only about 10 percent of death-penalty cases.

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