Date Requested: January 29, 2018
Time Requested: 09:23 AM
Agency: Supreme Court of Appeals
CBD Number: Version: Bill Number: Resolution Number:
2380 Introduced HB2408
CBD Subject: Corrections


General Revenue Fund

Sources of Revenue:

General Fund

Legislation creates:

Increases Existing Expenses

Fiscal Note Summary

Effect this measure will have on costs and revenues of state government.

    The bill seeks to reauthorize the death penalty in West Virginia. Passage of the bill would likely impose significant costs upon the State in any case wherein the death penalty is sought.
    The most recent analysis of the costs of death penalty cases of which we are aware is P. Collins, M. Hickman, and R. Boruchowitz, "An Analysis of the Economic Costs of Capital Punishment in Oklahoma," April 2017, Appendix 1B to The Report of the Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission, April 25, 2017. In this report, the authors considered fifteen economic studies on the same issue conducted nationwide between 2001 and 2016. These studies found that the additional cost for a death penalty case in 2017 dollars ranged from a minimum of $136,003 per case (Arizona, 2001) to a maximum of $1,972,680 (Maryland, 2008). The national average extra cost to states per death penalty case was found to be $708,727. The authors note repeatedly that their figures are conservative.
    Cost factors in death penalty cases include, but are not limited to, higher defense costs (additional state-funded lawyers are required) and higher prosecution costs (additional staffing, testing, expert witnesses, etc.), additional jury costs for longer trials and more involved selection procedures, additional incarceration costs given prohibitions against housing death-sentenced inmates with other inmates, and significant increases in appeal costs.
    Given that it is impossible to forecast the number of death penalty cases that might arise in the future should the bill become law, a precise estimate of the potential cost of the bill is not possible. However, there is overwhelming evidence nationally that death penalty cases are significantly more costly than cases wherein the death penalty is not available, and the average excess cost of each such case is on the order of $700,000.

Fiscal Note Detail

Effect of Proposal Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year
(Upon Full
1. Estmated Total Cost 0 0 0
Personal Services 0 0 0
Current Expenses 0 0 0
Repairs and Alterations 0 0 0
Assets 0 0 0
Other 0 0 0
2. Estimated Total Revenues 0 0 0

Explanation of above estimates (including long-range effect):




    Person submitting Fiscal Note: Christopher S. Morris
    Email Address: