Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Legislation has been introduced in Olympia to eliminate the death penalty in state law. What's even more disturbing, there is also a proposal to eliminate the next harshest sentence for violent sex predators and murderers: life in prison without the possibility of parole.
If you recall, Gov. Inslee issued a decree a few years ago suspending the death penalty in our state. Here is a list of who was on death row at the time. The state Supreme Court ruled late last year that the application of the law (not the law itself) was unconstitutional because of how it was applied.
At this point, the Legislature would normally take this into account and fix existing state law. Instead, Democrats in the state Senate introduced Senate Bill 5339 to completely eliminate the death penalty. This bill already passed the Senate and is now in the state House.
What complicates matters even more is Senate Bill 5819, which would eliminate the sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. This means the harshest sentence in Washington state law would be “life in prison,” which any good prosecutor will tell you equates to about 15-20 years' time served with good behavior.
We're talking about violent sexual predators and murderers serving at the most 15-20 years no matter how heinous their crimes. And this is BEFORE prosecutors and defense attorneys sit down to negotiate. It is extremely likely that many criminals would serve 8-12 years, max!
And what about our prison guards and correctional workers? For criminals already serving life in prison there are no further punishments. What is to keep them from harming or killing correctional officers?
I have grave concerns over the trend I see happening in Olympia right now to decrease the punishments for the most violent murderers and sexual predators in our state. But what do you think? Do you think we should eliminate the death penalty? Take my short online survey here. I'd like to know where you stand on this issue.
Thank you for staying involved and for allowing me to serve you in Olympia.