What does the death penalty cost taxpayers? - WRBL

What does the death penalty cost taxpayers?

Posted: Updated:
Jason Smith (center, in orange jumpsuit) Jason Smith (center, in orange jumpsuit)
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Jason Smith is already set to spend the rest of his life behind bars after a murder conviction.

He was also facing a second trail for second degree murder in the killing and burning of a man, until the State Attorney's Office changed their mind and decided to go for the death penalty.

“The number of hours usually triple, probably quadruple, and the expense goes anywhere from about $10,000 for a more simplistic case to somewhere in the vicinity, close to $100,000 on some of these cases,” said Hillsborough County Public Defender Julianne Holt.

“Most death penalty cases require the hiring of experts. You have to give the jury that is looking at this case an idea of who your client is,” said Holt.

News Channel 8 reached out to State Attorney Mark Ober’s office to find out why and how they decided to try for the death penalty against Smith. They declined to comment.

“We all know that practically speaking everything has a price tag, everything cost. But from the law perspective, from society’s prospective when I think about what justice means, it shouldn't have a price tag,” said Stetson University professor Charles Rose.

“You could put someone in prison for multiple lifetimes and never spend the amount of money that it takes to put them to death once,” said Rose.

The website deathpenaltyinfo.org estimates the state of Florida spends $51 million additional dollars each year to handle death penalty cases.

Holt said it adds more work to her underfunded office. Public defenders' offices across the state will take part in a study starting this summer where they will track how they spend each minute of their day in hopes of getting more funding.

“We will be operating our office the same way as if we were in private practice tracking the time that we spend on cases,” said Holt.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.



  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Pinellas homeowner ends up the loser after local government mistake on property taxes

    Pinellas homeowner ends up the loser after local government mistake on property taxes

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:59 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:59:58 GMT
    This Preservation land is at heart of homeowner tax dispute in PinellasThis Preservation land is at heart of homeowner tax dispute in Pinellas
    Melanie and Jeffrey Cornwell should have been getting a tax break for years on part of the homestead property in Dunedin they call their "little piece of Heaven." But due to a mistake at the Pinellas Property Appraiser's Office, they won't see any rebates for previous taxes, just a break on future tax bills.
    Melanie and Jeffrey Cornwell should have been getting a tax break for years on part of the homestead property in Dunedin they call their "little piece of Heaven." But due to a mistake at the Pinellas Property Appraiser's Office, they won't see any rebates for previous taxes, just a break on future tax bills.
  • RECALL: Fruit at Trader Joe's & Costco

    RECALL: Fruit at Trader Joe's & Costco

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:45 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:45:14 GMT
    A Central California company has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of specific lots of its fresh peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots over concerns of possible listeria contamination.
    A Central California company has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of specific lots of its fresh peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots over concerns of possible listeria contamination.
  • How thieves clone your credit cards

    How thieves clone your credit cards

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 9:15 AM EDT2014-07-22 13:15:02 GMT
    File photoFile photo
    Patricia Stack didn't know her debit card number had been stolen until she tried to withdraw money from her bank account. "A couple weeks ago I tried to get money out to pay my power bill and there was nothing in it."
    Patricia Stack didn't know her debit card number had been stolen until she tried to withdraw money from her bank account. "A couple weeks ago I tried to get money out to pay my power bill and there was nothing in it."
  • NewsMore>>

  • Lakeland residents not happy with answers about coyotes

    Lakeland residents not happy with answers about coyotes

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 10:56 PM EDT2014-07-24 02:56:23 GMT
    About 75 people gathered at Lakeland City Hall Wednesday night and many of them weren’t happy with what they heard about coyotes that have been mutilating and killing cats in Lakeland’s Lake Hollingsworth neighborhood.
    About 75 people gathered at Lakeland City Hall Wednesday night and many of them weren’t happy with what they heard about coyotes that have been mutilating and killing cats in Lakeland’s Lake Hollingsworth neighborhood.
  • Car loses control injuring 3 at Dunedin shopping center

    Car loses control injuring 3 at Dunedin shopping center

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 10:37 PM EDT2014-07-24 02:37:40 GMT
    An out of control car injured three people at a Dunedin shopping center on Wednesday afternoon. The shopping center is located at the intersection of Curlew Road and Bayshore Boulevard.
    An out of control car injured three people at a Dunedin shopping center on Wednesday afternoon. The shopping center is located at the intersection of Curlew Road and Bayshore Boulevard.
  • Bradenton Police looking for missing 82-year-old man

    Bradenton Police looking for missing 82-year-old man

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 9:45 PM EDT2014-07-24 01:45:01 GMT
    Missing man, 82-year-old Bonner Welch of BradentonMissing man, 82-year-old Bonner Welch of Bradenton
    Bradenton Police officers are looking for a missing 82-year-old man on Wednesday night. Officers are looking for Bonner Welch who they say is missing and endangered.
    Bradenton Police officers are looking for a missing 82-year-old man on Wednesday night. Officers are looking for Bonner Welch who they say is missing and endangered.
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

1350 13th Avenue
Columbus, GA 31901

Telephone: 706.323.3333
Fax: 706.327.6655
Email: news@wrbl.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.