Death penalty cases squeeze prosecutor’s budget

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Late Tuesday afternoon Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry announced he will seek the death penalty against Major Davis Jr., and it is likely to be an expensive case.

Davis Jr. is accused of shooting and killing Indianapolis police officer Perry Renn. Death penalty cases come at a steep price in Indiana. According to a 2010 Statehouse study, the average death penalty trial costs $450,000.

One of the reasons death penalty cases are so expensive is that they require a long, complex judicial process. It takes a death penalty review team sometimes months to determine if prosecutors should pursue the death penalty.

In 2012, Curry pursued the death penalty against Thomas Hardy. Prosecutors charged Hardy for shooting and killing IMPD Officer David Moore. Later that year, Hardy accepted a deal to plead guilty, and in exchange prosecutors agreed not to pursue the death penalty. A judge later sentenced Hardy to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Last month Curry announced he would pursue the death penalty again — this time against 24-year-old Kenneth Rackemann, who is a suspect in a quadruple homicide on South Parker Avenue on Feb. 20.

Curry is scheduled to present his budget to the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee Wednesday evening. According to Curry, Mayor Greg Ballard’s latest budget proposal cuts about $700,000 from the prosecutor’s budget. Those cuts come at a time when Curry adds his workload has only increased. Curry adds since 2012, murder cases in Marion County have increased by 57-percent. Class A felonies have increased by 47-percent, and Class B felonies have increased by 22-pecent.

“At some point we have to make decisions,” said Curry. ” What priorities do we decrease our emphasis on. at this point we can’t do this as a office or community.”

Mayor Ballard’s Spokesman Marc Lotter, claims that Ballard did cut Curry’s budget. Instead he adds that Curry lost money through federal grants and internal accounting.

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