How Much is it Worth to Keep Executions Moving Forward?
By Sarah Ford on February 4, 2014
By Andrea Hall, Mid Atlantic Regional Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator
How much is it worth to keep executions moving forward? What is the price of our machinery of death? In addition to the expense that is above and beyond keeping a prisoner jailed for life, there are the intangibles – the toll on the families of both the victims and the condemned, as well as on the prison staff, and the cost of perpetuating the cycle of violence in our society.
In the case of Edgar Arias Tamayo, executed tonight in Texas, the price may be much higher. We may very well have put our relationships with foreign countries, as well as the safety of Americans living and traveling overseas, at risk.
In a blatant affront to the United States’ obligations under international law, the state of Texas executed a Mexican national who was denied his consular rights at the time of his arrest, depriving his home country of the opportunity to assist in the defense of his case. Because the trial court denied funding for psychological testing, the jury did not hear significant evidence of Tamayo’s intellectual disabilities, information that could well have tipped the scales towards life imprisonment.