This Sunday, an interesting twist to the recent American Law Institute’s divorce from its prior recommendations regarding the death penalty occurred:  The Charlotte Observer published an editorial calling for abolishing capital punishment in North Carolina, based on the ALI’s recent determination. 

As added incentive, the Charlotte Observer did point to a Duke University study and its tally of $11,000,000 that could be saved each year by the state of North Carolina if capital punishment were to be abolished.  (The Death Penalty Information Center has a free, advance copy of Dr. Cook’s findings stored as a pdf on its website.)

What’s the big deal with the ALI about-face?  The American Law Institute’s change in position has been heralded by the Huffington Post (among others) as the biggest development regarding capital punishment in 2009.  The New York Times explains the importance of the ALI to the death penalty in this country in a well-written piece, as well. 

One has to wonder, however, as we monitor future developments in North Carolina, which is going to carry more influence in a move to abolish their death penalty:  the ALI reversal, or $11 million in the state’s annual budget?  Perhaps Dr. Cook and Duke University will prove to be the bigger powerhouse here.  If money talks, $11 million should screaming loudly in the North Carolina economy.