Editorial

February 25, 2014

Death penalty overdue for reconsideration

More than five years ago, this newspaper called for the state Legislature to revisit the value of Washington’s death penalty. Last month, Gov. Jay Inslee opened the door to begin the overdue conversation by implementing a death-penalty moratorium while he is the state’s elected CEO.

At first glance, it may seem unimportant. Washington state has had only five executions in the past 50 years.

But consider that there are nine men currently on death row in Washington prisons. Consider that taxpayers pay for the prosecution, for the public defenders and for the court system. Those cases are under appeal and the appeals will go forward. Inslee’s mandate does not do away with capital punishment, it just removes the killings from happening on his watch.

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