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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

Topic: capital punishment

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February 25, 2014 at 12:02 PM

Death penalty: applied inconsistently; margin of error too high

(Gabriel Campanario / The Seattle Times)

(Gabriel Campanario / The Seattle Times)

Corrected version

Capital punishment applied inconsistently

On the one hand I can relate to Brian Moran’s position supporting the death penalty for Jonathan Gentry and others like him [“Should Washington state abolish the death penalty?” Opinion, Feb. 22]. Who doesn’t experience a desire for vengeance and retribution for such a heinous crime?

But I get stuck on some other realities of capital punishment, including those described by Eldon Vail and Dick Morgan, particularly the uneven way in which the death penalty is applied.

How is it that the most prolific killer in the state’s history — Gary Ridgway — escaped the death penalty? Was he the criminal-justice version of “too big to fail” — meaning that when you kill dozens of victims, rather than only one or two — there is more value in gaining information regarding all of the victims than in executing him for any one murder?

I applaud Gov. Jay Inslee for his courageous stand calling for a moratorium on executions, allowing for a renewed debate on this issue.

Janet Barbour Michaelsen, former superintendent Twin Rivers Corrections Center

Margin of error is too high

Dick Morgan and Eldon Vail’s guest column on the death penalty, though informative, left out a fundamental argument against the death penalty. The use of case reviews and the increasing implementation of DNA have shown that about 10 percent of inmates nationwide since 1976 have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence, according to the NAACP. While 1 percent is too much, 10 percent is unacceptable.

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0 Comments | More in Death penalty | Topics: Alexander Scott, capital punishment, death penalty

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…

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

February 15, 2014 at 6:15 AM

Death penalty: Inslee’s decision doesn’t represent will of the people

To say Gov. Jay Inslee’s decision to impose a death penalty moratorium is shortsighted is an understatement [“Restart the conversation on the death penalty,” Opinion, Feb. 11]. The governor’s job is to represent the will of the people, and he has simply assumed that the majority of those in Washington state are against the death…

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0 Comments | More in Death penalty | Topics: capital punishment, death penalty, Ron Hopper

February 14, 2014 at 10:27 AM

Death penalty: killing innocent people; Wash. is better than capital punishment

How many innocent people are we willing to kill? The one question that we, as citizens, have to answer with regard to the death penalty is this: How many innocent people are we willing to kill to preserve the capital punishment system? One a year? One a century? [“Restart the conversation on the death…

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0 Comments | More in Death penalty | Topics: capital punishment, David Roy, death penalty