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Death penalty costs mount

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Steve Cavolt’s frustration at the slowness and cost of our death penalty system is palpable (Reader Input, March 9). The only solutions proposed are to hire more lawyers and to pay them more money to attract them to this work. I have never seen hiring more lawyers and paying them more money make anything go faster or cost less. Prosecutors should seek life without parole rather than the death penalty. There is one simple trial and one appeal. The whole process takes about three years. Since 1977, we have had thousands of prisoners serving life without parole. Only seven have gotten out of prison and they had to prove they were innocent to do it. The cost of switching to life without parole would be about 10 percent of what we are currently spending on our death penalty. Our death penalty system is a colossal failure. Since 1977, 13 have been executed, about 70 have died from natural causes, 17 have committed suicide and five have died from violence. The reversal rate of death verdicts is between 70 and 80 percent while life without parole cases are rarely reversed. The tea party needs to get involved with this issue.  Paul Comiskey, Newcastle