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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee suspends death penalty

Gov. Jay Inslee Suspends Death Penalty In Washington State

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday he was suspending the use of the death penalty in Washington state, announcing a move that he hopes will enable officials to "join a growing national conversation about capital punishment."

The Democrat said he came to the decision after months of review, meetings with family members of victims, prosecutors and law enforcement.

"There have been too many doubts raised about capital punishment, there are too many flaws in this system today," Inslee said at a news conference. "There is too much at stake to accept an imperfect system."

Inslee said that the use of the death penalty is inconsistent and unequal. The governor's staff briefed lawmakers about the move on Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Inslee's moratorium, which will be in place for as long as he is governor, means that if a death penalty case comes to his desk, he will issue a reprieve, which isn't a pardon and doesn't commute the sentences of those condemned to death.

"During my term, we will not be executing people," said Inslee, who was elected in 2012. "Nobody is getting out of prison, period."

Last year, Maryland abolished the death penalty, the 18th state to do so and the sixth in the last six years.

Nine men await execution at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. The state Supreme Court just last month rejected a petition for release from death row inmate Jonathan Lee Gentry, sentenced for the murder of a 12-year-old girl in 1988. Gentry could be the first execution in the state since September 2010, when Cal Coburn Brown died by lethal injection for the 1991 murder of a Seattle-area woman. A federal stay had recently been lifted in Gentry's case, and a remaining state stay on his execution was expected to be lifted this month.

The decision by the governor comes following a recent decision by the state Department of Corrections, which is in the process of changing its execution protocol to allow witnesses to executions to see the entire process, including the insertion of intravenous catheters during a lethal injection.

The new witness protocol, currently a draft that is in its final stages of approval, includes the use of television monitors to show the inmate entering the death chamber and being strapped down, as well as the insertion of the IVs, which had both previously been shielded from public view.

Through public disclosure requests, The Associated Press had sought information about any potential changes to the execution protocols. State corrections officials spoke with the AP about the new procedures late last month.

The change is in response to a 2012 federal appeals court ruling that said all parts of an execution must be fully open to public witnesses. That ruling was sparked by a case brought by The AP and other news organizations who challenged Idaho's policy to shield the insertion of IV catheters from public view, in spite of a 2002 ruling from the same court that said every aspect of an execution should be open to witnesses.

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surfclam89 February 11 2014 at 6:03 PM

it makes real sense keeping somebody in prison for life and spend millions and billions for one *********.

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ladywolf2012 February 11 2014 at 3:39 PM

Of course it's a Dem.

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plewdawg February 11 2014 at 3:49 PM

Just leave Texas out. They don't play.

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jbryant840 February 11 2014 at 3:55 PM

So with no regard to the victims family, friends and loved ones this governor decides he is smarter that the detectives, the prosecuters and the jury are all wrong. Good luck getting reelected you all seeing all knowing Wizard.

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1 reply
johnny blues jbryant840 February 11 2014 at 4:24 PM

GOOD RIDDENES TO ANOTHER DEMOCRAT

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1 reply
Mom johnny blues February 11 2014 at 5:33 PM

"RIDDENES"? Wow.

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frankdlu February 11 2014 at 6:27 PM

WHAT A IDIOT THIS GUY IS.....JUST WHO THE HELL GOVERNOR IS PROTECTING THE PEOPLE AND GIVING JUSTICE TO THE VICTIMS....ALL THE STATES WHO SUSPENDED THE DEATH PENALTY TELLS THE CRIMINALS....COME TO MY STATE...IT'S OK TO MURDER....DISGUSTING THESE POLITICAL COWARDS....

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johnny blues February 11 2014 at 4:20 PM

This is the new liberal America. Shame on us for becoming Obamaville....I feel sorry for the youth of America. This once great and strong country is now forever in debt , looked at by other countires as weak and cowardly. Everyone from Russia to Afghanistan just steps all over us. Welcome to liberal America..

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1 reply
Mom johnny blues February 11 2014 at 5:16 PM

North Korea. Iran. Iraq. China. Afghanistan. Egypt. Somalia. Libya. Argentina. Cuba. Guyana. India. Syria. Kuwait. Pakistan. Palestine. Saudi Arabia. United Arab Emirates.

These are the countries whose company we keep (all still allow the Death Penalty). You obviously wish to identify the U.S. with them, so instead, why don't you move there? Most of them are extremely religious, and very conservative, and love to kill people. Go have fun.

Dismissed.

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ncf8710 February 11 2014 at 4:44 PM

Typical liberal. They don't believe in killing anything, except perhaps unborn babies.

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brianclncy February 11 2014 at 5:03 PM

Jay Inslee YOUR THE MEANING OF WHITE TRASH

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Pookie Captain February 11 2014 at 5:58 PM

Bleeding hearts will have us paying for their housing, food, healthcare, work out gyms, and on, and on, and on, while the victims families have to live with the possibility of their being set free. Victims families having to attend parole hearings, etc., also knowing that the "gang banger" killers can still bang and run their operations from jail. When will this nation finally stand up, in one voice, and say ENOUGH to our law makers??!!

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markmiller2014a February 11 2014 at 5:14 PM

Great so now you legalize POT which will lead to more crimes then you do away with death penalty which means criminals have nothing to fear. We need to execute the clearly guilty quicker not set them up for life in free taxpayer housing.

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