The Olympian posts the AP report, "Death penalty foes test waters," filed by Rachel La Corte.
Efforts to abolish the death penalty have never gained political traction in the state, but supporters of the move aren’t giving up.
The latest bill on the issue is sponsored by Seattle Democratic Rep. Reuven Carlyle, who doesn’t expect it to pass this year but says it will spur further debate at a time when public attitudes about capital punishment are changing.
“We are in the midst of a profound shift in thinking, in large part because of the impact of DNA testing,” he said. “I believe the public is undergoing a rapid transformation in their view given the fact that we have repeated headlines about injustices in terms of the wrongly convicted.”
The death penalty is currently used by the federal government and 33 states. Seventeen have abolished it, with Connecticut being the most recent last year, though its ban only applies to new cases.
A death penalty statute is still on the books in Oregon, but Gov. John Kitzhaber stopped an execution in 2011 and declared no one would be put to death during his time in office.
Several other states have introduced measures this year, including Nebraska, Montana and Maryland, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Maryland state Senate is expected to vote today on its measure.
Carlyle’s House Bill 1504 to end capital punishment in Washington also will receive a public hearing today before the House Judiciary Committee. It’s co-sponsored by 20 other lawmakers, including one Republican, Rep. Maureen Walsh of Walla Walla.
"Washington considers doing away with the death penalty," is by Linda Thomas for KIRO Radio.
Instead of capital punishment, Washington could sentence those who are convicted of aggravated first degree murder to life in prison without parole.
A House committee considers a bill Wednesday to abolish the death penalty.
There are criminal justice issues and financial concerns related to this possible change in Washington law. While I'd like to read your thoughts on the ethics of the death penalty. I've looked into the financial arguments.
In terms of trying the case, a Washington State Bar Association 2007 report concluded:"It costs significantly more to try a capital case to final verdict than to try the same case as an aggravated murder case where the penalty sought is life without possibility of parole.
At the trial level, death penalty cases are estimated to generate roughly $470,000 in additional costs to the prosecution and defense over the cost of trying the same case as an aggravated murder without the death penalty and costs of $47,000 to $70,000 for court personnel.
On direct appeal, the cost of appellate defense averages $100,000 more in death penalty cases, than in non-death penalty murder cases.
Personal restraint petitions filed in death penalty cases on average cost an additional $137,000 in public defense costs."
Earlier coverage of the Washington repeal legislation begins at the link.