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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

February 15, 2014 at 9:14 AM

Death penalty: Costs don’t represent legitimate appeals

I am a Democrat on most issues, with the notable exception of the death penalty [“Restart the conversation on the death penalty,” Opinion, Feb. 11].

If there is total certainty that a person has intentionally committed murder without a compelling reason, such as self-defense, the murderer should be humanely executed. What reasonable explanation is there for keeping that murderer alive? Why spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for the lifetime imprisonment of a person who can no longer be allowed to live among us?

Yet, death-penalty opponents have used endless appeals, mostly unrelated to the innocence of the accused, to make death-penalty prosecutions so expensive that the cost has become the primary argument against the death penalty. That is something we should and could change by separating appeals of policy from appeals based on guilt or innocence.

For appeals that raise doubts about guilt, a date of execution should be delayed as long as necessary. No innocent person should be executed. Appeals that challenge death-penalty policy, about whether it is cruel or inequitable or a deterrent, may be argued forever, but they should not be allowed to delay an execution.

If Gov. Jay Inslee has “started a conversation,” that deserves to be part of it.

Jim Scoggins, Yakima

Comments | More in Death penalty | Topics: capital punishment, death penalty, Gov. Jay Inslee

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