Activists led by a 24-year-old Notre Dame grad want a moratorium on executions in Indiana until "the system's fairness and massive costs can be examined." But those massive costs -- an average of $624,000 per execution, eight times the cost of life without parole -- are there because of the endless appeal process. And the "fairness" the group seeks would only add to the cost of appeals:
Death-penalty defendants, by law, must have two lawyers meeting specific experience and training standards. Still, advocates for a moratorium say Indiana needs more safeguards.
The bar association panel's 2007 report recommends requiring indefinite storage of biological evidence for further testing; probing why killers of whites are more likely to get death sentences; and requiring video recording of interrogations.
That report said Indiana failed to fully comply with dozens of suggested protocols, including an ability for its appeals courts to review whether different crimes merit death sentences.
And, honestly, the group doesn't really want a moratorium. It wants to end the death penalty. That's fine as a tactic -- most of us try for something less if we can't get what we really want -- but it's not likely to gain traction (or "create a market for the issue," as the activists say) in a state whose residents strongly support capital punishment.