As reported by the Seattle Times, Governor Inslee has decided to use his clemency power to create a moratorium on executions while he is governor.
“Equal justice under the law is the state’s primary responsibility,” Inslee said on February 2, 2014. Inslee is not convinced equal justice is being served. According to Inslee, there is “too much at stake” in death penalty cases in what he believes is an “imperfect system.” Inslee cited the high cost of trials and appeals, the seeming randomness in which death penalties are pursued, and concerns that executions do not deter others from committing the same or similar crimes.
Governor Inslee said he is not asking the Washington state legislature to abolish the death penalty. “As governor, it is on my shoulders to come up with a decision for our whole state.”
There are currently nine people on death row in Washington. Inslee said that if a death penalty case comes in front of him he will issue a reprieve, which will potentially only be in effect while he is governor.
Inslee is not the first governor in this country to oppose the death penalty. Last year, Colorado Governor Hickenlooper granted a reprieve to an inmate who killed four people in 1993 after finding the state’s death penalty system to be imperfect and inequitable. Inslee’s and Hickenlooper’s remarks and decisions are part of an ongoing debate in this country about the role of the death penalty in America’s criminal justice system.
If you have been charged with a crime, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer. Criminal convictions can affect employment applications and result in substance abuse treatment. Contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden for a consultation. You can also visit our criminal law page for more information.