Saturday, January 28, 2012

Washington state considers outlawing death penalty

The Washington legislature is considering legislation to abolish the death penalty.

Capital punishment is rare in Washington. Since the current law was passed in 1981, just five people have been executed, most recently Cal Coburn Brown in 2010.  The state has carried out two more executions than Pennsylvania.  All three of Pennsylvania's executions were of volunteers--offenders who wanted to be executed.

Brown was executed for the rape and murder of Holly Washa in Seattle.  After torturing her for a period of time, he killed her and left he body in the trunk of a car at the Sea-Tac airport.  Brown then got on a plane for California and tried to sexual assault and kill another woman.  Moments before his execution, Brown complained that he only killed one person and Washington serial killer, the Green River Killer Gary Ridgeway, killed 48 women without being executed.

Although, Washington has carried out executions Senator Mike Carroll believes, “We don’t have a death penalty in the state of Washington," reported the Olympian.

Carrell said capital punishment is little more than a “bargaining chip” for prosecutors to use to force plea deals. But he thinks it’s crucial for prosecutors to have that threat, which was used, for example, to force serial killer Ridgway to reveal the locations of some of his victims’ bodies, reported the Olympian. Carrell's position on the death penalty is not much different that condemned killer Cal Coburn Brown.

Opposing executions are the American Civil Liberties Union and a coalition of advocates planning to lobby lawmakers and testify at a public hearing today. Opponents point to death sentences around the country that have been overturned upon finding new evidence, reported the Olympian.  This is a bit of a misleading argument.  There have been only 17 cases across the country since 1989 where an inmate on death row was released due to DNA testing.

Some states have rethought capital punishment. Last year, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber put a halt to executions.Illinios, New Mexico, New Jersey and New York have all recently abolished the death penalty.  New Mexico is considering bringing it back.

In a time of budget cuts, opponents note the cost of capital cases. A 2006 study by the Washington State Bar Association found the death penalty can add more than $700,000 to court costs.

And Brown’s execution cost about $100,000, according to the Department of Corrections – though it did avoid keeping him imprisoned any longer at a cost of more than $42,000 a year.

To read more:


dudleysharp said...


9 inmates have been released from death row because of DNA exclusion.

An additonal 8 were removed from death row and sentenced to lesser sanctions, that after re-sentencing were, later found excluded by DNA.

The high numbers of "innocents" sent to death row is usually based upon the deceptions of the anti death penalty lobby, reviewd, here:

The 130 (now 140) death row "innocents" scam

dudleysharp said...

What the anti death penalty lobby doesn't look at is this:

The Death Penalty: Saving More Innocent Lives
Dudley Sharp, contact info below
updated 11/2011


Of all human endeavors that put innocents at risk, is there one with a better record of sparing innocent lives than the US death penalty? Unlikely.

1) "The Death Penalty: More Protection for Innocents"

2) Opponents in capital punishment have blood on their hands, Dennis Prager, 11/29/05,

3) "A Death Penalty Red Herring: The Inanity and Hypocrisy of Perfection", Lester Jackson Ph.D.,

The false innocence claims by anti death penalty activists are both blatant and legendary. Some examples:

4) "The Innocent Executed: Deception & Death Penalty Opponents"

5) The 130 (now 139) death row "innocents" scam

6) "Exoneration Inflation: Justice Scalia’s Concurrence in Kansas v. March", by Ward Campbell, Supervising Deputy Attorney General, California Department of Justice, p 49, The Journal of the
Institute for the Advancement of Criminal Justice, Issue 2, Summer 2008,

7) "The innocence tactic: Unreliable studies and disinformation", reports By United States Congress, Senate, 107th Congress, 2d Session, Calender no 731, Report 107-315. The Innocence Protection Act of 2002, (iv) The innocence tactic: Unreliable studies and disinformation, p 65-69,

8) "The Innocent and the Shammed", Joshua Marquis, Published in New York Times, 1/26/2006

9) "Troy Davis & The Innocent Frauds of the anti death penalty lobby",

10) "The Myth Of Innocence"­, Joshua Marquis, pu­blished in the Journal of Criminal Law & Criminolog­y - 3/31/2005, Northweste­rn University School of Law, Chicago, Illinois

11) Sister Helen Prejean & the death penalty: A Critical Review"

12) "At the Death House Door" Can Rev. Carroll Pickett be trusted?"

13) "Cameron Todd Willingham: Another Media Meltdown", A Collection of Articles


dudleysharp said...



Of course the death penalty deters.

All prospects of a negative outcome deter some. It is a truism. The death penalty, the most severe of criminal sanctions, is the least likely of all criminal sanctions to violate that truism.

1) 28 recent studies finding for deterrence, Criminal Justice Legal Foundation

2) "Deterrence & the Death Penalty: A Reply to Radelet and Lacock"

3) "Death Penalty, Deterrence & Murder Rates: Let's be clear"

4) This is out of date, but corrects a number of the misconceptions about deterrence.
"Death Penalty and Deterrence"

5) "The Death Penalty: More Protection for Innocents"


dudleysharp said...


Of course the death penalty deters. A review of the debate.
Dudley Sharp

1) Anti death penalty folks say that the burden of proof is on those who say that the death penalty deters. Untrue. It is a rational truism that all potential negative outcomes deter some - there is no exception. It is the burden of death penalty opponents to prove that the death penalty, the most severe of criminal sanctions, is the only prospect of a negative outcome that deters none. They cannot.

2) There have been 28 recent studies finding for death penalty deterrence. A few of those have been criticized. The criticism has, itself been rebutted and/or the criticism doesn't negate no. 1 or nos. 3-10.

3) No deterrence study finds that the death penalty deters none. They cannot. Anti death penalty columnists Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune states, "No one argues that the death penalty deters none." Yes, some do, But Zorn is correct, the issue is not "Does the death penalty deter?". It does. The only issue is to what degree.

4) About 99% of those murderers who are subject to the death penalty do everything they can to receive a lesser sentence, in pre trial, plea bargains, trial, in appeals and in clemency/commutation proceedings. Life is preferred over death. Death is feared more than life. No surprise. Would a more rational group, those who choose not to murder, also share in that overwhelming fear of death and be deterred by the prospects of execution? Of course.

5) There are a number of known cases of individual deterrence, those potential murderers who have stated that they were prevented from committing murder because of their fear of the death penalty. Individual deterrence exists.

6) General deterrence exists because individual deterrence cannot exist without it.

7) Even the dean of anti death penalty academics, Hugo Adam Bedau, agrees that the death penalty deters .. . but he doesn't believe it deters more than a life sentence. Nos. 4-6 and 10 provide anecdotal and rational evidence that the death penalty is a greater deterrent than a life sentence. In addition, the 28 studies finding for deterrence, find that the death penalty is an enhanced deterrent over a life sentence.

8) All criminal sanctions deter. If you doubt that, what do you think would happen if we ended all criminal sanctions? No rational person has any doubt. Some would have us, irrationally, believe that the most severe sanction, execution, is the only sanction which doesn't deter.

9) If we execute and there is no deterrence, we have justly punished a murderer and have prevented that murderer from ever harming/murdering, again. If we execute and there is deterrence, we have those benefits, plus we have spared more innocent lives. If we don't execute and there is deterrence, we have spared murderers at the cost of more innocent deaths.

10) Overwhelmingly, people prefer life over death and fear death more than life.

"If we execute murderers and there is in fact no deterrent effect, we have killed a bunch of murderers. If we fail to execute murderers, and doing so would in fact have deterred other murders, we have allowed the killing of a bunch of innocent victims. I would much rather risk the former. This, to me, is not a tough call."

John McAdams - Marquette University/Department of Political Science

Post a Comment