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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Governor Inslee Suspends the Death Penalty in Washington State

Posted by on Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 11:02 AM

AP's Rachel La Corte, by way of ABC News, says:

Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday he was suspending the use of the death penalty in Washington state, announcing a move that he hopes will enable officials to "join a growing national conversation about capital punishment."
Inslee said that the use of the death penalty is inconsistent and unequal. The governor's staff briefed lawmakers about the move on Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Inslee's moratorium means that if a death penalty case comes to his desk, he will issue a reprieve, which isn't a pardon and doesn't commute the sentences of those condemned to death.

Good news. Thanks to Governor Inslee for taking a stand on this.


Comments (38) RSS

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Theodore Gorath 1
Just like marriage equality, the states are going to have to lead the way in eliminating the racist, childish, and barbaric policy that is the death penalty.

Like every other instance of progress, it is time to drag the welfare sucking red states kicking and screaming into a better future.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on February 11, 2014 at 11:19 AM · Report this
passionate_jus 2

Speaking of which, the IDAHO Supreme Court just ruled unanimously that a lesbian can legally adopt her wife's children.…
Posted by passionate_jus on February 11, 2014 at 11:31 AM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 3
All penalties are unfairly applied to poorer citizens.

We should fix that.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on February 11, 2014 at 11:37 AM · Report this
Rotten666 4
@1 Historical application of the death penalty in Washington really can't be considered racist, if you look at the numbers.

@3 There's the rub.
Posted by Rotten666 on February 11, 2014 at 11:45 AM · Report this
Finally, some sanity in today's insane world...
Posted by jwlsesq on February 11, 2014 at 11:46 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 6
@3: True, which is why a permanent and extreme penalty, like the death penalty, should be eliminated immediately.

@4: I was talking about the application of the penalty nationwide (or even worldwide really), not just in Washington State. I was so overjoyed last year when the death penalty was abolished in my home state of Maryland.

We got that and marriage equality that year! Not to mention that several Maryland counties have raised the minimum wage themselves recently, and Seattle is just now talking about it. Not that you would know, seeing as how Stranger writers seem married to the idea that raising the minimum wage is a Seattle idea, and no one else is doing it...
Posted by Theodore Gorath on February 11, 2014 at 12:06 PM · Report this
Wimpy decision. So Inslee won't watch anyone be killed by the state on his watch but the next governor can do what s/he wants.
Posted by Algernon on February 11, 2014 at 12:07 PM · Report this
Terrible news. The end result will be the same; they'll be executed, we'll just spend more money housing them.

Get over the death penalty, liberals. Some people deserve to die.
Posted by sanotehu on February 11, 2014 at 12:13 PM · Report this
@8: Including those that are wrongly convicted?

This is the fact that death penalty proponents refuse to address. Innocent people have been placed on death row.
Posted by gnossos on February 11, 2014 at 12:21 PM · Report this
Josh Bis 10
Hope he finds a way to make this suspension permanent.
Posted by Josh Bis on February 11, 2014 at 12:28 PM · Report this
@10 hope not @1 big difference there plenty of Democrats and progressives support the death penalty not many are against marriage equality. A majority of Americans are in favor of marriage equality and the death penalty. I disageee that this is childish or barbaric I think its justice. Hopefully won't lead to Governor McKenna
Posted by Seattle14 on February 11, 2014 at 12:38 PM · Report this
I'm not too happy about this.

The first friend I ever had when I moved to the state of Washington was kidnapped and brutally raped and murdered by a dirtbag psychopath. He bashed in her skull with a claw hammer and dumped her body 300 yards from my house. She was only 16.

I sat in with her family during parts of the largest forensic evidence trial in the history of the state and it was horrible. The pain and grief her family endured was unimaginable and something I'll never forget.

It's easy to talk about capital punishment in clinical, abstract terms, but when the unimaginable happens to someone you care about, it's a whole different ballgame. For me, capital punishment isn't about deterrence, it's about retribution. If I had the chance, I'd kill that motherfucker myself and then go home and sleep like a baby.
Posted by CPN on February 11, 2014 at 12:43 PM · Report this
@7 the idea might be to make the death penalty very rare, but hypothetically allow it for the most egregious offenders. I mean the clear cut, obviously did it, really horrible crimes. New Hampshire and some other states do it this way and I don't see a problem with that.
Posted by wxPDX on February 11, 2014 at 12:44 PM · Report this
schmacky 14
@12: There's a difference between a very reasonable desire for revenge/retribution and granting the power of life and death to a monumentally flawed justice system.
Posted by schmacky on February 11, 2014 at 12:59 PM · Report this
So, do we get the $4.9 million back the state has spent trying to get a capital case on Michelle Anderson and Joseph McEnroe? The state should have outlawed the death penalty the second they traded it away in the Ridgeway case. If it didn't apply to the Green River Killer, what good was it?

If you want revenge, advocate for Supermax conditions--23 hour-a-day solitary for life, no possibility of parole.
Posted by Westside forever on February 11, 2014 at 1:07 PM · Report this
MajordomoPicard 16
@12 you don't see the irony in that sort of barbarism at all, do you?

I'm sorry that you had to go through that. It must have been horrible. But your (or anybody's) "revenge" or "satisfaction" is not enough justification for state-sponsored extermination. Feel all the rage you want, but don't make me involuntarily complicit in your revenge.
Posted by MajordomoPicard on February 11, 2014 at 1:19 PM · Report this
El Matardillo 17
He's busy trying to kill the entire economy, so a few prisoners either way won't make much difference. Priorities!
Posted by El Matardillo on February 11, 2014 at 1:23 PM · Report this
As a criminal defense attorney who has defended clients in death penalty cases and watched first hand at how the system works the death penalty needs to be banned. For a myriad of reasons which I am sure everyone has heard argued or pitched in one form or another my simple basic premise has been economics. Place a person in prison for the rest of their life (supermax if you would like as @15 said) and then take the tens of millions of dollars you saved and put the money back into basic education at the lowest levels - head start, school lunch programs, K-5. Invest in the kids while those that killed are never allowed back into society again. Study the killers if you like - see what made them kill (nature? nurture? a combination?) but fund those programs that have been woefully cut in the name of justice.
Posted by jwlsesq on February 11, 2014 at 1:30 PM · Report this
passionate_jus 19

Sorry you had to deal with that.

On the other hand I can attest that the death of the perpetrator does not always give peace of mind to the survivors of horrific crimes.

I know. In 2006, on Capitol Hill, Kyle Huff killed one of my friends and several others and then killed himself.

I'm not speaking for anybody else, but it in my opinion it would have been better if he suffered in jail for a long time, maybe his whole life. Also, we could have found out why he hated "ravers" so much, as opposed to just guessing due to some random writings. And maybe, just maybe, psychologists could have studied him to figure out why some people snap.

Him killing himself did nothing for many of the people who knew the victims.

Just saying.

PS the problem I have with the death penalty is that if it exists it WILL at some point kill an innocent person. Also it has been used unfairly in the past and it has been used unevenly against minorities. It has also been used in times of hysteria (see Sacco and Vanzetti). Basically I just don't want the government to have that type of power.
Posted by passionate_jus on February 11, 2014 at 1:42 PM · Report this
passionate_jus 20
Why I'm against the government having the death penalty, the case of Sacco and Vanzetti, killed for being Italian immigrants and Anarchists during a period political hysteria:…

Posted by passionate_jus on February 11, 2014 at 1:46 PM · Report this
passionate_jus 21
Meanwhile in Wyoming, the State Senate has voted down firing squads.

Progress of a sort.…
Posted by passionate_jus on February 11, 2014 at 1:49 PM · Report this
Death seems too merciful a sentence to me. Let them suffer in prison for the rest of their days.
Posted by HandleShmandle on February 11, 2014 at 1:55 PM · Report this
treacle 23
@22 - You're exactly right. Death is the easy way out. Life w/o parole is the worst. Dying behind bars, caged your entire life. THAT is punishment.

SeattleBlues/Seattle14, @11, would clearly prefer to kill innocent people just to make sure he can get the ego-satisfaction of killing some guilty people. Why does he also oppose abortion then??
- The death penalty (along with many judicial penalties) has been clearly racist in its application. Why does SB support racism?
- Additionally, you would prefer the state to stop taxing you, and get out of your politics, leave you free... yet you would have the state kill people??
Inconsistent policies there, bud.

@12 - You have my condolences and sympathies for enduring such a horrible situation. I'm sorry your friend was murdered. I personally would support you, and if in the jury, acquit you for retributionally murdering the man who killed her.
It's not appropriate for the State to apply ultimate penalties. That should never be allowed to occur in any government context.

Good on Inslee for the suspension. Another step towards civil-ilization. I hope we can work to take that penalty off our books once and for all.

Posted by treacle on February 11, 2014 at 2:36 PM · Report this
@ 23 I get you disagree with me thats fine but why are you mentioning Seattle Blues, thats a totally different person, one who has shown to be a right wing conservative where I am a moderate Democrat.

You realize its not the same person.
And yes I get sometimes innocent people are executed, so maybe these temporary stop is good to try to fix the system before we resume it.

Is it racist or is it classist? Blacks and Hispanics are more likely to be well off due to the discrimination they had to face. So because of this this poor people are more likely yo get treated harsher by the justice system. Not saying this is right but classism is not as bad a racism.

And when did I say stop taxing me i want an income tax. I think it would be good. Again not Seattle Blues.

We may be at an impasse here and may have to agree to disagree but in the end even if this ban is permanent, not enough for me to stop being a Democrat. Much more pressing issues.
Posted by Democrat1234 on February 11, 2014 at 3:22 PM · Report this
@ 23 I think not having the death penalty is the easy way out but again we probably won't agree here.
Posted by Democrat1234 on February 11, 2014 at 3:23 PM · Report this
Also pro choice, ok thats its for me.
Posted by Democrat1234 on February 11, 2014 at 3:24 PM · Report this
It appears I've used my old screen name one I have't used in a while. But still not Seattle Blues and

also pro choice.
Posted by Democrat1234 on February 11, 2014 at 3:28 PM · Report this
@ 23 One final point how is it better for him to seek retribution that the state? I don't see why its so wrong for the state to have a death penalty.
Posted by Democrat1234 on February 11, 2014 at 3:29 PM · Report this
SchmuckyTheCat 29
I still think it's ok to apply the death penalty for heinous crimes where conviction is beyond any doubt (not just reasonable doubt). Texas style, that's just barbaric.

Posted by SchmuckyTheCat on February 11, 2014 at 3:30 PM · Report this
sperifera 30
There's a very warm seat in "Hell" (assuming that there is such a place) for the Charles Campbells and Wesley Allen Dodds of the world. I'm just not sure that society should have a "right" to get them there quickly. Seems to me the worse punishment is to allow them to rot in a solitary cell while watching Sarah Palin videos for eternity.

On a separate note, it's funny how so many "Pro-Life" people are also for Capital Punishment. Hypocrisy lives within them.
Posted by sperifera on February 11, 2014 at 5:13 PM · Report this
Couldn't we say pro choice and anti CP is also hypocrisy?

I think they would say innocent is the difference.
Posted by dkjndmsahksdhksal on February 11, 2014 at 6:01 PM · Report this
@9 - do tell. How many people in Washington that are innocent have been put on death row?
Posted by Bax on February 11, 2014 at 7:52 PM · Report this
venomlash 33
@32: Check out Texas, in particular the singular case of Cameron Todd Willingham.
Posted by venomlash on February 12, 2014 at 11:14 AM · Report this
treacle 34
Firstly, my apologies for conflating & confusing you with Seattleblues. Your comment sounded like him, and I assumed your handle was one of his sock puppets. I regret the error.

Fix Capital Punishment? How many years has CP been in effect in the US? Something like 250+ years? You'd think they would have it "fixed" by now. But no, innocent people still end up on death row. Even DNA testing is insufficient to eliminate error.
- So what do we do? Have a moratorium, "fix" CP, then restart killing people until.. whoops! We killed another innocent! Ok, let's have another moratorium and "fix" it.. but better this time, and then kill people again... until the next innocent dies.
- Where does this train stop? What percentage of innocent people murdered by the state is an acceptable amount to you? There's no way to be sure you don't kill an innocent.
- @32 - WA's record doesn't matter, what matters is that an innocent person could be killed at any time. Are you willing to face that unpredictable possibility? "Oh sure, we might kill someone, but we haven't yet, so let's drop the blade on this one.... Oops! I think we've made a huge mistake..."

Classist AND racist, clearly. White poor people are killed by the state far less than black poor people. Whites also suffer less-harsh non-death penalties. The problem is systemic & won't be fixed in our lifetimes.
- I'm unwilling to condone such a system that involves murdering people.
- What happens when a regime takes power that is at odds with your worldview, and they use the death penalty to get rid of their critics? Is that a tool we want any state to have available to them? No.

Having your life taken away and facing the unknown of death is worse than living your entire life in a cage? Have you ever been to prison? Or even jail?

Last point: The death penalty doesn't actually pencil out economically. CP is more expensive than life incarceration. CP requires multiple appeals processes, state-funded representatives, and plenty in court costs. So it is in fact cheaper to keep someone in a cage for the rest of their natural borne life that sentence them to die.
Posted by treacle on February 12, 2014 at 1:45 PM · Report this
watchout5 35
Did you catch the NPR of the guy who's daughter was beaten to death claiming that this hurts his recovery? Holy shit this can of worms.
Posted by watchout5 on February 12, 2014 at 2:42 PM · Report this
@32 - I'm not talking about Texas. I'm talking about Washington. Do you think that we should alter the way we do things here because of the practices of other states?
Posted by Bax on February 12, 2014 at 4:54 PM · Report this
@34 - WA'S record doesn't matter?! So if we have never put an innocent person on death row, and have never executed an innocent person, that doesn't matter? I think our ability to avoid such nightmares not only matters, it matters a lot.

What about Byron Scherf? Do you think sentencing him to life in prison for killing a corrections officer while serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole is justice? Do you think it will keep him from killing again?
Posted by Bax on February 12, 2014 at 5:03 PM · Report this
the death penalty has had ten times more white people executed than ones of color..........i have concerns regards dangerous ones when let out and victims endangered...esp when whole movements groups of people gang up on some torture abuse also those who have killed hundreds of people some never locked up while some maybe 5 years..or as certain abuser arested over 25 times always let out, victimize again and again, or those who help kidnappers instead of victim...was many imp matters to got with ones who helped go about,,many many issues,,right arrangments, out of those who took low mistreated when needed right project.
Posted by ellim on February 22, 2014 at 4:00 PM · Report this

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