Death Row

Morning Poll: How Long is Too Long to Be on Death Row?

New Times took a look yesterday at Arizona's 130 death-row inmates awaiting execution. Turns out, nearly 20 percent (24 of 130) have been rotting away/cheating court-ordered death for more than 20 years -- on taxpayers' dime.

The extended-stay hotel that Arizona's death row has become ain't cheap -- last year alone, nearly $600,000 was spent on housing, feeding, and caring for convicted murderers who were condemned to die at least two decades ago.

And that's just murderers who've been on death row for more than 20 years -- the total tab to keep all condemned inmates alive cost the state well in excess of $3 million last year, which doesn't include the legal bills they're racking up exhausting their appeals.

That said, nobody wants to see an innocent person executed. But how long before we accept that a person's guilty?

Richard Bible was executed yesterday -- after 23 years on death row -- for murdering a 9-year-old girl. When he was arrested, Bible was wearing a shirt with the girl's blood on it. Not to mention, at the time, he was fresh out of prison for attacking and sexually assaulting his 17-year-old cousin.

If Bible didn't kill Jennifer Wilson, who did? Yet, he lived on death row for 23 years -- 14 years longer than the young girl lived period.

Arizona has the death penalty for a reason: to spare the rest of us from the most heinous criminals the state has to offer.

That said, every death-row inmate deserves due process -- but 20 years on death row? 

But we want to know what you think: how long is too long to be on death row?

Cast your vote below.

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James King
Contact: James King