NEW VOICES: Washington Attorney General Says Death Penalty May Not Be Worth the Costs and Delays

Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna recently said he is not sure the death penalty is the way to handle the worst crimes in his state. “I could live without it frankly. I think it’s very expensive, and the delays are inordinate, delaying closure for the victims’ families,” he said. McKenna said he uses the death penalty sparingly in Washington, reserving it for the most serious aggravated-murder convictions. He said he would continue to uphold the law, if the people still desired it: “I support it as long as that’s what the people of this state want.” Although the death penalty is rarely used in Washington, the state is scheduled to carry out its first execution since 2001 on September 10. If the execution proceeds, Cal Brown, who has been on death row for 16 years, would be the fifth person executed since 1976.

(C. Sullivan, “Attorney General Rob McKenna not sure if ultimate penalty’s worth it,” MyNorthwest.com, September 7, 2010). Read more New Voices.