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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Ind. Law - Death penalty sends a state's legal costs soaring

The ILB happened across this pragmatic editorial in the Madison Wisconsin Capital Times that uses Indiana as an example. It begins:

Longtime reader Chris Wren of Madison this week sent me a copy of a job posting made by the Indiana attorney general's office to fill a deputy attorney general position in its habeas corpus and capital litigation section.

Wren notes that the job posting ought to interest Wisconsin citizens, who on Nov. 7 will vote to "advise" the Legislature whether Wisconsin ought to legalize the death penalty.

This particular Indiana job is the one that handles the appeals from people sentenced to death there.

Here is an excerpt from a paragraph that describes the job's principal duties:

"When a court imposes the death penalty, the attorney general represents the state in all future appeals. These cases are very lengthy and often last in excess of 15 years. The successful candidate will be responsible for representing the state's interests in all aspects of appeals before the Indiana Supreme Court, post-conviction relief proceedings in state trial courts, and federal habeas corpus proceedings in the federal district and appellate courts.

"Additionally, attorneys provide consultation and assistance to the prosecuting attorneys in trial proceedings. As these cases involve a mixture of trial and appellate practice, prior trial experience is an asset."

In other words, once a state enacts capital punishment, it needs to prepare itself for lots of appeals and huge court costs that typically stretch over nearly two decades for each case.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 5, 2006 04:57 PM
Posted to Indiana Law