All nine Seattle City Councilmembers, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and City Attorney Pete Holmes sent a LETTER to Seattle’s legislative delegation today, calling for an end to the death penalty in Washington State. Washington Senate Bill 6052 and House Bill 1935 would eliminate the death penalty and instead require life imprisonment without possibility of release or parole as the sentence for aggravated first degree murder. The House bill was heard in a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee earlier today.
“As a former King County Prosecuting Attorney, I oppose the death penalty, period,” said Sally Bagshaw (District 7, Pioneer Square to Magnolia). “The growing body of evidence confirms that the death penalty is no deterrent to serious crime, it is against the basic values of our constitution, it is unfairly applied and the costs of death penalty prosecutions are significantly more than other cases. It is my sincere hope that 2018 is the year our state joins 19 others to abolish what is a bad option for any civilized society and that we invest our resources in solutions that work.”
“As someone who has been both a criminal defense lawyer and a federal prosecutor, I believe it’s time to end the death penalty,” said Mayor Jenny A. Durkan. “It does not advance our best goals and does real harm to victims and communities. It is an ineffective way to deter crime in our communities. It diverts resources from valuable, effective public safety initiatives, delays justice for victims’ families, and perpetuates racial and social injustice. As a state, we must come together to focus on providing victims’ families the support they need to grieve and heal, while also administering effective and equal justice. I hope that our leaders in Olympia will do the right thing and finally end the death penalty in Washington State.”
“The death penalty is a vestige of a time gone by; the system is broken beyond repair,” said City Attorney Pete Holmes. “The criminal justice system cannot guarantee that every defendant, no matter his or her race, gender or age, will be treated fairly. The ultimate penalty does not bring solace to the families and friends of the victim nor does it guarantee equal treatment in the courtroom.”