Push For Vote On Death Penalty Fizzling Out In Washington | KUOW News and Information

Push For Vote On Death Penalty Fizzling Out In Washington

Jan 22, 2016

An effort to abolish the death penalty in Washington state this year seems to be losing steam.


This fall, the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys called on lawmakers to put the death penalty up to a statewide vote.

But in a preview of the legislative session, leaders from both parties said they are too busy working on education funding.

It's disappointing news to King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg. He points out, it has been 41 years since Washington voters weighed in on the topic.

Satterberg: "The question about the death penalty is not 'is it some day going to go away,' the questions is how. The Legislature could vote on it, but they've never been able to get a bill out of committee. The Supreme Court could rule on its constitutionality, but that hasn't happened."

The other option is a voter referendum campaign, but Satterberg says the prosecutor's group is not in a position to pay for that. Meanwhile, nine inmates currently on Washington's death row are protected by a moratorium on the death penalty by Governor Jay Inslee.