The Connecticut House has just passed LCO 3121/SB 280, An Act Revising the Penalty for Capital Felonies, with a bi-partisan vote of 86 to 62. The legislation is expected to be signed into law by Governor Dannel P. Malloy. When he does, Connecticut will be the 17th state to have abandoned the death penalty. Washington State still has the death penalty and has executed four people since 1976.
I urge all Washington residents to appeal to the Legislature and the Governor to repeal the death penalty in our state.
There are several essential reasons: (1) Across the U.S., many inmates on death row have been exonerated and released when DNA or other evidence proved beyond any doubt that they were innocent, after serving years, sometimes decades, in death row's solitary confinement conditions; (2) The message sent to our children--an eye for an eye--tells them that whatever is done to them, they can/should do back (get punched? punch back!); (3) Cost! Consider Ted Bundy, who started his deadly rampage in Western Washington. After his death sentence in Florida, it took 17 years and $20 million dollars (appeal, after appeal, after appeal, all paid for by the state) before he was finally executed. By comparison, life in prison without any possibility of parole is estimated would have cost, based on his expected lifetime, less than $500,000. Currently, in California, for instance, the wait time to execution is nearly twenty years. The three offenders executed in Alabama in 2007 spent an average of 23 years on death row. In fact, the time prisoners spend on death row throughout the U.S. has nearly doubled during the past two decades, and legal experts predict it will rise further as states review execution procedures and prisoners pursue lengthy appeals.
For me, there's a fourth reason: The death penalty is unfairly applied to people depending on the color of their skins. Even though still a minority of the population and a minority of those who kill, maim, and torture, they make up the majority of prisoners on death row--class warfare at its most heinous.
Abolish the death penalty in every state of the Union; abolish the federal death penalty. End this aberration once and for all.
North County Voices
Editorials, guest commentaries and
letters to the editor can be found here. We appreciate hearing what's
on your mind -- feedback about stories we've published, issues of
concern or anything else.