Washington’s governor: ‘During my term, we will not be executing people’

BY Zachary Treu  February 11, 2014 at 6:55 PM EST
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday that his administration would issue a reprieve on all death sentences. Photo by Flickr user Shawn Murphy

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday that his administration would issue a reprieve on all death sentences. Photo by Flickr user Shawn Murphy

The death penalty will be suspended in Washington state for at least the next three years, first-term governor Jay Inslee announced Tuesday.

“During my term, we will not be executing people,” Inslee said during a news conference. The governor stated that he intends to issue a reprieve whenever a case comes to his office throughout the remainder of his term. However, he was clear that the reprieve would only keep the inmate in prison — not pardon the individual or commute their sentence. “Nobody is getting out of prison,” Inslee said. “Period.”

The governor’s decision came after he spent several months meeting with family members of victims, prosecutors and law enforcement, the AP reported. Other reasons for the governor’s declaration included high trial and appeal costs, the “apparent randomness” in whether or not prosecutors seek the death penalty and the questionable effectiveness of capital punishment as a crime deterrent, according to The Seattle Times.

“Equal justice under the law is the state’s primary responsibility,” Inslee said, “and in death penalty cases, I’m not convinced equal justice is being served.”

Inslee also said that he would support a permanent ban of the death penalty if the legislation was approved. Nine men are currently on Washington’s death row.

Capital punishment is legal in Washington and 31 other states.

H/T Zachary Treu