Joaquin Palomino 
Member since Oct 3, 2012


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Recent Comments

Re: “California's Thirsty Almonds

Mr. Wade,

Thank you for your comment. Here's the source I used for the statement that almonds grown in the much wetter Sacramento Valley can produce four times the yields as almonds grown in Westlands while using the same amount of irrigation water.…

The document shows that since the Sacramento Valley receives so much more rainfall than the western San Joaquin Valley, it requires about four times less irrigation water to grow almonds in the region. The figure also factors in water that’s lost to seepage, evaporation, and outflow to San Francisco Bay.

While I know you contest these numbers, there's no denying that it takes much less irrigation water to grow almonds in the northern Central Valley than in the dry western San Joaquin Valley. I understand that your organization is crunching its own numbers to detail water usage amongst almond farmers in California, and I look forward to seeing them when they’re done.

Joaquin Palomino

9 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Joaquin Palomino on 02/07/2014 at 10:26 AM

Re: “Executing the Death Penalty

As the author of this article, I want to defend some of the statements made above. There are countless sources showing that the death penalty is significantly more costly then LWOP, and that to make it more cost effective would be risky.

Even in states like Texas and Virginia, where capital cases have limited appeals, huge costs are accrued during the trial. According to the non-partisan Death Penalty Information Center, a death penalty case costs on average $1 million more then a LWOP case. The national average cost to house an inmate is $26,000 a year. So the cost of the trial alone would pay for the 40 years of imprisonment. That’s a conservative estimate. In some states, such as Maryland, the cost of trial is closer to $2 million more expensive, according to an Urban Institute study.

As for Texas. According to a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the average cost to house an inmate is $17,000 a year. In 2009, the Lubbock Avalanche Journal reported that the trial and appeals costs for a death penalty case run at about $1.2 million. So the cost of legal process alone could house an inmate amongst the general prison population for 70 years. That is, again, not accounting for the high cost of death row housing.

Meanwhile, a 2003 Columbia Law School study found that 68% of the nations capital cases have been overturned, thereby wasting money on securing death convictions.

Then there is the expensive appeals process and the cost of death row housing.
So the claim that the death penalty is more expensive then LWOP is based in factual evidence, especially in California where lengthy capital trials, appeals and housing costs have bloated the cost of the death penalty.

As for Virginia: this is maybe the ONLY state where the death penalty might be cheaper then LWOP. The state has expedited the appeals process, and a very small number of capital cases are overturned. Citing the same 2003 Columbia law school study, Virginia overturned roughly 16% of capital cases – compared to the 66% average. The authors of the study pose the question: “Are Virginia’s capital judgments in fact four times better then the national average? Or are its courts more tolerant of serious error?”

Maybe Virginia has a superior death penalty system. But the ACLU certainly doesn't think so. In a 2003 report, they wrote that; "there are, in fact, many errors taking place in Virginia capital cases. The appellate courts simply are not reviewing them, and thus are not reversing convictions or sentences." This
makes one wonder what risks come with expediting capital cases for the sake of lower, albeit still high costs. There’s a reason why other states rigorously vet executions; because they don’t want to kill an innocent person.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Joaquin Palomino on 10/03/2012 at 2:19 PM

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