Anti death penalty folks never cease to amaze.
How bad is the Retain a Just Nebraska's (Retain) death penalty cost study?
1) Retain spent $16,000 on a study found unreliable by the study's primary author, Ernie Goss, who states:
"As I indicated in the (Nebraska cost) study (1), due to the small sample size (n=19), the margin of error was too large produce reliable results on the annual costs of the death penalty." (Goss email - , RE: More Clarification: The Economic Impact of the Death Penalty on the State of Neb, dated 8/18/2016 5:15:12 P.M. Central Daylight Time)
The errors go way, way beyond the unreliability of a small sample size, as detailed. The "study" could, hardly, be more of a bad joke.
2) Did anyone see Goss' claims of unreliability in his study or news conferences? No. Odd.
There are near countless variables, other than the presence or absence of the death penalty, which could have caused the cost differences between and within the states. Death row inmates make up 0.16% of all state prisoners.
Of course Goss' results are unreliable.
But, it gets even worse for Goss and Retain.
4) Yes, No?
Goss presented a number of highly problematic cost studies from other states (3), which Goss stated were 1) essential to the cost calculations, then that 2) they had not even been used for the cost calculations, then that 3) he didn't even fact check (vet) those cost studies then that 4) the study involved "sorting (those cost studies) conclusions based on the methodology used, and identifying the data that are suitable for analysis."
What a mess.
If Goss depended on the, also, unreliable cost studies from other states, to establish Nebraska's death penalty cost (as he said he did . . . and did not), it must be unreliable, as Goss confirms, and has zero relevance to Nebraska.
If Goss didn't depend on the, also, unreliable cost studies from other states (as he said he didn't . . . and did), why would he include them?
5) Goss states: "As I said , the other studies quoted in my study had nothing to do with my estimated annual cost of $14.6 million." " I used ONLY U.S. Census Data to perform my estimates." (Goss email - Subj: RE: More Clarification: The Economic Impact of the Death Penalty on the Stat..., 8/19/2016 2:22:32 P.M. Central Daylight Time)
In fact, the Goss study says the exact opposite:
"Based on other studies examining the cost of a DP prosecution versus a LWOP prosecution: Each DP prosecution cost the Nebraska taxpayer almost $1.5 million above and beyond the cost of an LWOP prosecution. - $740.1 thousand of post-conviction costs over the life of the prisoner. - $619.4 thousand of maximum security costs over the life of the prisoner. - $134.0 thousand of in-kind payments, or opportunity costs, over the life of the prisoner. ((1) p 3)
Goss is saying that the other cost studies, which he admits he did not fact check, were the exact studies that made up the entire death penalty excess cost claims by Goss, in total contradiction to his email.
Does he not even know what he did?
Why would there be any additional "maximum security" costs when we are looking at equivalent maximum security cells for both LWOP and death penalty? Surely, Goss knows that death penalty states Missouri and Kansas have no death row, putting death sentenced prisoners in high security cells, instead, and that the highest security level cells in California cost 2-3 times as much as death row.
6) Then this: "The present study brings the results of nearly all the relevant studies conducted in the United States together to determine the cost of the DP in Nebraska." ((1) p 26, 27)
Goss tells us that "all the relevant studies conducted in the United States" were used "to determine the cost of the DP in Nebraska."
Which means, of course, they are not Nebraska's costs, as he admits.
Then Goss contradicts, himself, again, with this:
"As I (Goss) said , the other studies quoted in my study had nothing to do with my estimated annual cost of $14.6 million." "I (Goss) used ONLY U.S. Census Data to perform my estimates." (Goss email, RE: More Clarification: The Economic Impact of the Death Penalty on the Stat..., 8/19/2016 2:22:32 P.M. Central Daylight Time)
Got that? Goss said he used the other states' costs to determine Nebraska's cost and he did not use other states' cost to determine Nebraska's cost.
Just so we are clear.
7) Goss continues: "In order to undertake a meta-analysis, a systematic review was conducted to select and review all studies relevant to the subject area, sorting their conclusions based on the methodology used, and identifying the data that are suitable for analysis." ( (1) p 26)
Just more contradictions:
Goss: "I quoted the findings from other studies (but did not rely on them)." (Goss email - RE: More Clarification: The Economic Impact of the Death Penalty on the State...8/19/2016 1:03:16 P.M. Central Daylight Time)
In total contradiction to Goss' study. Could Goss contradict himself, any more?
8) As Goss quotes:
“Reviewers often cite the conclusions of previous reviews without examining those reviews critically,” (Rudner et. al., 2002). ( (1) p26).
Just as Goss states he fact checked/vetted none of the studies he presented and/or relied upon and did not rely upon, depending upon . . . whimsy?
"To think that I (Goss) would fact check the findings from a peer-reviewed published article indicates a lack of understanding about the peer review process." (Goss email - RE: More Clarification: The Economic Impact of the Death Penalty on the State..., Sent: 8/19/2016 1:03:16 P.M. Central Daylight Time)
Just to think that Goss might lower himself to fact checking (vetting)! Goss didn't fact check (vet) them, but fully relied upon them . . . and not.
Goss may be the only one in academia that doesn't know what a terrible joke "peer review" so often is, as defined by the cost studies he used.
One, of countless articles:
"Peer Review: The Worst Way to Judge Research, Except for All the Others", Aaron E. Carroll, NY Times, Nov. 5, 2018
9) Then there is this:
Goss "allegedly" used a quote from death penalty expert Kent Scheidegger - Goss' "quotation" of Scheidegger was the factual opposite of what Scheidegger actually stated.(4). Scheidegger, actually, found that plea bargains, made possible by the presense of the death penalty, do save money for the states. . . .
The factual opposite - see Goss' pattern, here?
Scheidegger: "For (Gross) to allow this egregious error to continue in the "corrected" version of his paper is gross negligence and academic malpractice at best. At worst, it is intentional deception.(5)"
and Goss' study just gets worse - another mess for Retain duplicating much of their other "facts".
1) The Economic Impact of the Death Penalty on the State of Nebraska: A Taxpayer Burden?, Produced for: Retain A Just Nebraska, August 15, 2016, Goss & Associates Economic Solutions, Ernest Goss, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, Scott Strain, M.S., Senior Research Economist, Jackson Blalock, Research Assistant
2) 1) Anthony Yezer, professor, economics, George Washington University, from
"How much does the death penalty cost Nebraska?", Gray Washington News Service,10/28/16,
3) Compare these to the corresponding studies used by Goss
Saving Costs with The Death Penalty
4) Author: Goss told “Bald-Faced Lie” on the Cost of the Death Penalty*AUGUST 19, 2016, http://leavenworthst.com/2016/08/19/author-goss-told-bald-faced-lie-bald-faced-lie-on-the-cost-of-the-death-penalty/
A Bald-Faced Lie on the Cost of the Death Penalty v. LWOP, Kent Scheidegger, Crime and Consequences Blog, August 18, 2016 http://www.crimeandconsequences.com/crimblog/2016/08/a-bald-faced-lie-on-the-cost-o.html
5) "Deceit (or Reckless Disregard of the Truth) Continues in Nebraska Cost Paper"
August 20, 2016 12:53 PM | Posted by Kent Scheidegger,