by Amna El Tawil
Washington state legislators said they would introduce new measures in a bid to abolish the death penalty. While almost the entire US sees the never-ending disputes between Democrats and Republicans regarding all major issues, in this state, both parties want the same.
According to the Hill, attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) and Republicans and Democrats from both chambers of the state legislature said capital punishment had become too costly, and that there is little evidence that the death penalty deters any crimes. State Sen. Mark Miloscia (R) will introduce legislation in the Republican-led Senate, while state Rep. Tina Orwall (D) will carry the bill in the Democratic-led House.
State Sen. Maureen Walsh (R) said in a statement released by Ferguson’s office: “As a means of effective punishment, the death penalty is outdated. Not only is life-without-parole more cost-effective, it also offers the certainty that is an essential element of justice.”
The RT reports: “Washington State’s governor joined the state attorney general in an unusual bipartisan alliance to back legislation that would abolish the death penalty. They claim that capital punishment costs too much and doesn’t deter crime. The proposed bills would remove capital punishment as a sentencing option for aggravated murder, and mandate instead of a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.”
Governor Jay Inslee (D) said during a news conference at the Capitol in Olympia, Washington: “Death penalty sentences are unequally applied in the state of Washington, they are frequently overturned and they are always costly. I could not in good conscience allow executions to continue under my watch as governor under these conditions.”
State attorney, Bob Ferguson said: “This issue transcends politics.”
— Tom James (@tomjames206) January 16, 2017
In the case they do succeed in abolishing death penalty, Washington would be the 20th state in the nation to end the death penalty, 40 years after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed states to resume executions. In recent years, legislators in Connecticut, Maryland, Illinois and New Mexico have outlawed capital punishment. Nebraska’s state legislature ended the death penalty in 2015, though voters reinstated it through a ballot measure in November 2016.
However, the new law wouldn’t be retroactive i.e. it wouldn’t apply to nine prisoners who are, currently, on a death row in this state.
We’ll have to wait for a while to see what’s going to happen regarding the death penalty in Washington state. That said, what is your take on this subject? Are you pro- or anti-death penalty?