Vincent Basciano was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison by a New York City jury. The federal government had sought the death penalty for Basciano’s involvement in mob killings in the New York area.
More than a year ago, the federal judge presiding over the case said it would be expensive and futile for the government to seek the death penalty for Basciano if he were found guilty, reported the New York Times. Whatever happened in the trial, he would never leave prison alive. Basciano was already serving life without parole “under extremely restrictive conditions in one of the nation’s most secure penal institutions.”
However, the decision to seek the death penalty had already been made by the Bush Administration and the federal government was not turning back. Just finding a jury pool, not selecting a jury, but just finding a pool from which a jury would be selected cost $44,000 according to the Times. Each potential juror was paid the ordinary juror fee of $40 for a day. There were 1,100 potential jurors.
Taxpayers flipped a tab of more than $10 million to send away a killer for life who was already serving life. According to the Times, the final bill for the defense has not been submitted, but as of April, they had reached $4.3 million.
The jury returned a sentence of life over death after about only two and one-half hours of deliberation.
To read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/03/nyregion/a-high-price-for-seeking-the-death-penalty.html