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Death Penalty

Washington’s death penalty system is broken, expensive, and unfair. With the state facing a staggering $2 billion budget hole, why does Washington continue to spend tax dollars on a death penalty system that doesn't make us safer? The death penalty is costly, unfair, and poses an unacceptable risk of executing the innocent.

The Death Penalty: Costs taxpayers millions of dollars each year - far more than life in prison, does not provide swift and certain justice, does not deter crime, and is applied unequally

Topic Resources

News Release, Published: 
Wednesday, February 24, 2016

An ACLU brief asserts that the state’s system of capital punishment is fundamentally flawed and must be struck down: Joining in the brief are 56 former and retired judges from around the state and a wide range of other organizations.

Published: 
Monday, May 12, 2014
Assurances about lethal injection rest on the premise that inmates are sedated and unconscious before other excruciating drugs are administered. The horrifying experiences of recent executions make clear these assurances are false. The drugs used in recent executions produced not a sleep into death but many wakeful minutes of struggle and pain. Such executions are clear violations of the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment and require investigation and action.
Published: 
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
The extraordinary expense of Washington’s death penalty cases was in the news again this month, with taxpayers on the hook for most of the cost.
Published: 
Thursday, July 18, 2013
The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees every person the right to a fair trial.  However, if the prosecution is making racist remarks and presenting racially-charged evidence throughout the trial, this right is violated.
Published: 
Friday, April 26, 2013
Opponents to the death penalty have been stating many reasons, for many years, why the death penalty should be removed from our judicial system. In March of this year, Daniel J. Evans, our former governor, added his powerful voice and told the Washington Legislature about his reasons: “When I became governor in 1965 the death penalty was not an issue. Challenges of redistricting, education, social services, and transportation filled the legislative agenda.
Published: 
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Earlier this March, Washington’s House Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on HB 1504, legislation that would replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Published: 
Thursday, February 28, 2013
On February 12th, nearly 60 concerned people from 26 legislative districts came together to voice their opposition to Washington state’s death penalty. From Bellingham and Vancouver to Spokane and Walla Walla, constituents trekked to Olympia to meet with their elected officials.
Published: 
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Recently, a group of community organizations released Facing Race, a report that assesses that the voting records of Washington state legislators in promoting racial equity. Notably, the report recognizes ending the death penalty is one change that our state representatives should make to advance the goal of racial justice in Washington.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 30, 2012

At a press conference in the State Capitol, family members of murder victims talked about why the death penalty does not meet their needs. They urged passage of legislation to replace the death penalty in Washington with life in prison without parole.

Published: 
Thursday, November 8, 2012
California voters narrowly rejected Proposition 34, a ballot measure to replace the death penalty with a sentence of life without parole. Although a majority of voters chose to retain the death penalty, the fact that close to half the voters supported repeal represents a dramatic shift away from capital punishment.

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