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The Economics of the Death Penalty

While we work on creating a new format for the site, we are pleased to bring you our next topic of discussion for the Practitioner’s Commentary. The economics of the death penalty is a subject of much discussion in the criminal law community these days. The debate surrounding the current system of capital punishment in our country is multi-faceted. While the economic efficiency of this system is only one part of the debate, it is nonetheless an important part. Many studies have been undertaken to determine the amount the death penalty actually costs, and those on both sides of the capital punishment debate use these statistics in support of their arguments. The cost of capital punishment raises important questions on the effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability, and values of our current criminal justice system. With that being said, we are pleased to bring you articles from two well-respected members of the criminal law community on this important topic. As always, we invite (and encourage) anyone who reads these articles to leave comments. This site is intended to provide thought-provoking commentary and insight from those involved in the field of criminal law. Please help us by leaving a comment, even if it is just to give your opinion on the subject. Thank you.

*Bruce T. Cunningham has practiced criminal defense in Southern Pines, North Carolina for 36 years. He has extensive experience in capital cases at the trial, appellate, and post-conviction levels. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1970 and the University of Virginia Law School in 1973. He has previously served as the North Carolina legal advisor to Families Against Mandatory Minimums and frequently lectures on capital litigation and Apprendi issues.
Click here to view Bruce T. Cunningham’s article

*J. Richard Broughton is a visiting professor of law at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. He has also taught courses at the law schools of Wayne State University, Stetson University, and Texas Wesleyan University. From 2005 to 2008, Professor Broughton served in the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. where he advised senior Justice Department leaders and federal prosecutors on issues of criminal and constitutional law arising in federal death penalty matters and assisted in federal capital prosecutions, appeals, and post-conviction litigation. He also has served as Assistant Attorney General of Texas for Capital and Post-conviction Litigation, as a law clerk to the chief judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, and as a law clerk for the House Judiciary Committee during the 106th Congress.
Click here to view J. Richard Broughton’s Article