Why states are heading away from death penalty

Custody Cellsource: Kingston Community News
published: 4 April 2014

Since February’s announcement by Gov. Jay Inslee of his moratorium on capital punishment, there has been refreshed interest in the pros-and-cons conversation.

In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court placed a moratorium on executions, deemed as “cruel and unusual” (Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution), and then lifted the moratorium in 1976. Power was then given back to the states to employ or not.

Washington state decided to employ capital punishment. Five executions have been carried out since then, 1993 being the first. Nine men are currently waiting on death row at Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. One death row inmate has been found innocent of charges and freed.

Washington is one of the 32 states remaining with the death penalty, and 18 states have outlawed it. We are one of three states whose governors have placed capital punishment on a moratorium, along with Oregon and Colorado.

For Inslee, a moratorium on capital punishment means only a reprieve, a temporary suspension of death. The next governor is able to lift the moratorium should he or she so decide. Inslee has not yet proposed legislation to abolish the death penalty.

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