Loading
Priest lauds temporary halt of Washington death penalty
The lethal injection room at San Quentin State Prison, completed in 2010. Credit: CACorrections (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) via Wikimedia.
The lethal injection room at San Quentin State Prison, completed in 2010. Credit: CACorrections (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) via Wikimedia.
By Kevin J. Jones
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington state has issued a moratorium or temporary prohibition on executions, drawing praise from a priest who has written against the death penalty.

“This is a step in the right direction,” Monsignor Stuart Swetland told CNA Feb. 12. “The bishops of the United States...have said that there are no conditions under which the death penalty should be used.”

“We hope for the banning of the death penalty in every state,” said Msgr. Swetland, a professor of Christian ethics at Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Gov. Inslee announced the moratorium in a Feb. 15 press conference. He said the suspension will last as long as he is governor and he will issue a reprieve on any death penalty case that comes to his desk.

“There are too many flaws in the system. And when the ultimate decision is death there is too much at stake to accept an imperfect system,” he said.

Washington state has executed five prisoners since 1976. The Democratic governor outlined the reasons for his action, saying capital punishment is “unequally applied.”

Though he said there are “many good protections” in the state's death penalty law, he noted that 60 percent of death penalty sentences in Washington state have been overturned. One man was set free and 18 other convicts' sentences were converted to life in prison.

The governor said death penalty convicts are rarely executed. He noted that it costs more to prosecute a capital case than to imprison someone for life without parole. He said there is “no credible evidence” that the death penalty is a deterrent to murder. He added that the death penalty is not always applied to “the most heinous offenders.”

The decision drew criticism from some family members of crime victims.

“I think if it was his family he would perhaps feel a lot differently,” Pam Mantle, whose daughter, son-in-law and two young grandchildren were fatally shot on Christmas Day 2007, told the Seattle Times.

The governor did not commute the sentences of the nine men presently on death row.

Msgr. Swetland said that the Catechism of the Catholic Church is “quite clear” about conditions when prisoners can be incarcerated in a way that they will not threaten innocent life. “

“Not only does it state that the death penalty should not be used, but that it must not be used in those cases,” he said.

“I’d like to see this state-by-state, moving in the right direction,” said the monsignor, who is a contributor to the 2013 book “Where Mercy and Justice Meet.”

Washington state legislators do not plan to work on the death penalty during the legislature’s 2014 session, the Seattle Times reports, though some plan to advance a death penalty ban in 2015.

There are 32 U.S. states that allow capital punishment. Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber declared a moratorium similar to Washington’s in 2011.

Tags: Death Penalty

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
Dec
21

Liturgical Calendar

December 21, 2014

FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Gospel
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14

Daily Readings


Gospel:: Lk 1: 26-38

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
12/15/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Homily
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14