Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Public Defender Proposes Ending Death Penalty In Orange County To Save Money

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -- The Orange County public defender is proposing to eliminate the death penalty in order to save taxpayers millions of dollars.

Bob Wesley estimates a capital punishment case costs about $500,000. Orange County and Osceola County get about 20 cases a year.

Channel 9 spoke with murder victim Amelia Sookdeo's father who said his family has mixed feelings about her killer's death sentence.

"I got to sit every day and think about this. The death penalty would be too easy. Let him sit in there and rot in prison," said Deolall Sookdeo.

The proposed change comes on the heels of a $10 million budget cut for the Public Defender's Office. Wesley says the legislature plans to make more cuts as well.

Wesley is also proposing making misdemeanors civil infractions, meaning people would not stand trial for crimes like petty theft, marijuana possession or soliciting a prostitute. Instead they would be ticketed.

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