Defense lawyers for Steven Hayes, who was found guilty on 16 of 17 counts related to the brutal home invasion and murder of a Connecticut doctor's family, were hoping to save their client from the death penalty by arguing that the cost of imposing and carrying out a death sentence would far exceed the cost of a life sentence. They received a blow to their argument today, when the Judge in the case ruled that the cost will not be allowed to be used as a mitigating factor: "A jury in the penalty phase of a capital case is charged with the task of using reasoned moral judgment, not counting dollars and cents," Judge Jon C. Blue wrote in his decision.
Blue disagreed with the defense lawyers' argument: because Hayes is only 47, he has a longer life expectancy than an older criminal, and will cost more to keep incarcerated for life. "From an economic view, it will thus be more expensive to incarcerate the younger defendant for the remainder of his life and—in strict economic terms—more cost-effective to execute him...This argument plainly makes no moral sense...Economic arguments tailored to specific individuals are not only irrelevant but perverse," he wrote. The death-penalty phase of the trial begins on Monday.