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Attorney: Taxpayers Don’t Know How Expensive Capital Punishment Is

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File photo of a lethal injection death chamber (photo: PAUL BUCK/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a lethal injection death chamber (photo: PAUL BUCK/AFP/Getty Images)

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Las Vegas CBS KXNT — The Nevada legislature has ordered an audit to determine the cost of prosecuting death penalty cases, prompting a local defense attorney to ask judges to stay capital prosecution of his clients until the results are in.

The clients in queston are charged with capital murder in four separate cases. Attorney Anthony Sgro says he’ll argue the first of four motions next week, seeking relief from death penalty charges. It makes sense, he says, because in Nevada, we don’t know whether we’ll keep or repeal the death penalty once tax payers are fully aware of the costs.

“In the last year or so, ten different states have gone down this road,” Sgro told KXNT. “Now each of them for various reasons has abandoned the death penalty,”

Sgro says if the cost is millions per case, and if that persuades Nevadans away from capital punishment, that’s fine. But these motions are not a gimmick, he says. They are an earnest defense of his clients.

He is, though, by his own description, a death penalty opponent.

“I’ve seen in my own experience as a defense attorney for 25 years, cases that should not have resulted in the imposition of capital punishment — that did,” Sgro said.

“It’s somewhat ironic that it’s the financial cost-benefit analysis that prompts discussion about innocent people who get killed via the death penalty.”

Other defense attorneys in town have contacted Sgro to say they’ll be using his motion in their own capital cases after he’s had a chance next week to argue the first one.

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