Look Who's Against the Death Penalty

The delayed execution of Cal Coburn Brown reinforced a surprising point made on KUOW yesterday by Attorney General Rob McKenna: Because of all the delays caused by appeals, the death penalty also delays closure for families of victims. You might expect the Republican Attorney General, whose office argued in court that the execution should proceed, to support the death penalty. But while being careful to say that citizens have the right to insist on the ultimate point, he also sounded like he himself was not in favor of it.

"Life without possibility of parole would certainly be satisfactory to me," he said. He cited concerns over the cost of ongoing trials as well as delays. The cost argument is coming up a lot in these economic times; see the current arguments over drug law reform. Ideologically, it's a double edged sword. One could argue that liberal social programs should be on the chopping block. But with drug laws and the death penalty reframed in terms of their expense, one wonders what other conservative sacred cows could be seen in this way. Corporate tax breaks, obviously. Tax-exempt status for churches? Now that would start a revolution.

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