On Tuesday, Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee announced there would be no more executions on his watch. Citing the most critical reason possible for taking this step, he said:
There have been too many doubts raised about capital punishment. There are too many flaws in the system. And when the ultimate decision is death, there is too much at stake to accept an imperfect system.
Inslee hopes to become part of the national conversation.
Inslee hopes the moratorium will give Washington a chance to join a growing conversation. The use of an irreversible punishment which has sometimes been applied to the innocent is being seriously questioned nationwide. He is the third Democratic governor in recent years to make such an announcement. Previously, Oregon’s Gov. Kitzhaber and Colorado’s Gov. Hickenlooper took the same executive action. Eighteen states have outlawed the death penalty altogether, including six in just the last six years.
The governor also pointed out that capital punishment doesn’t serve the cause of equal justice. Counties are inconsistent in their ability to use the death penalty because of disparities in their budgets. The expense of pursuing death penalty cases to their conclusion can be prohibitive. Inslee said:
The costs associated with prosecuting a capital case far outweigh the price of locking someone up for life without the possibility of parole.