Governor Jay Inslee announced today that he is issuing a moratorium on the death penalty in Washington State while he is governor.
"Equal justice under the law is the state’s primary responsibility," Inslee said in his remarks this morning, "And in death penalty cases, I’m not convinced equal justice is being served."
Inslee made the decision after months of consideration—visiting the Walla Walla prison where nine men currently sit on death row, speaking to the surviving families of the accused's victims, and consulting with law enforcement and Department of Correction officers. Inslee cited the "practical reality [...] that those convicted of capital offenses are, in fact, rarely executed," as well as the overwhelming financial burden that capital punishment places on the state, as the main reasons for the decision.
So far, 18 states have gotten rid of the death penalty, with Maryland's decision last year being the most recent.
Mayor Ed Murray is already applauding the decision, saying "Governor Inslee’s bold move today is the first step to righting this uneven system." The ACLU has also made its approval known—Kathleen Taylor, executive director of the ACLU-WA wrote that "Governor Inslee’s actions today announcing his moratorium on the death penalty was a courageous act of leadership based on practical considerations of its enormous costs and its unfairness."
Meanwhile, KIRO Radio's Dori Munson is less than enthusiastic, saying "Every part of me that is logical and the part of me that is a Christian, which is a big part, I feel like I should be against the death penalty... I support the death penalty because of revenge."
Read the Governor's complete remarks on the decision below: