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Scheduled Execution in Washington

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The State of Washington intends to finally carry out justice on Friday for the rape, torture, and murder of Holly Washa in the Seattle suburbs in 1991, reports Shannon Dininny of AP. This is significant for several reasons:

First, and foremost, this is the just punishment for Cal Coburn Brown's crime, and he has evaded it far too long already.

Second, this will be the resumption of executions in Washington after an 8-year hiatus. Although the number of people who support the death penalty has not dropped significantly in recent years, according to Gallup, some supporters are not as strong as they used to be due to a fatigue factor. When executions remain blocked, some people are prone to throw in the towel and assume we will never fix the problems in the review system.

Third, Washington is in the Ninth Circuit. It is important symbolically to demonstrate that it is possible to get death penalty cases through even in the worst circuit (in this case, with a little help from the Supreme Court).

Fourth, Washington is not in the South. One of the strategies of the anti side is to try to isolate the death penalty to the South, then convince the rest of the country that it is just another regional aberration, invoking all the old stereotypes. Resumption of executions in Ohio and now in Washington works against this strategy.

There will, of course, be the usual last-minute throw-everything-against-every-wall paper blizzard.  Let us hope that long-delayed justice will be carried out on Friday nonetheless.

Update: As "federalist" notes in the comments, the Washington Supreme Court has denied a stay. Washington courts press release with links to the orders is here. Seattle Times story by Jennifer Sullivan is here.

4 Comments

I think this one might get stayed over lethal injection issues, which would be very unfortunate.

That judges don't have more gumption in these cases is really a problem. Lethal injection has been the law in Washington for a while. Brown could have litigated the propriety of lethal injection a long time ago. He did not, and now laches should bar his claim.

Hopefully Missouri and Delaware will resume executions soon. Executions in those states should quiet some of the "executions are only in the South" chatter espoused by Dieter et al.

Here's a link to a Seattle newspaper. Washington Supreme Court denied a stay request for Brown: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008832866_webbrown09m.html

Let's hope Washington carries out long overdue justice for this heinous criminal.

Here's another update. Apparently, he's filing his lethal injection claims at the last minute. Surprise surprise.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/403038_brown11.html

Let's hope Washington state courts have some sense.

The state lethal injection claim was denied by a state trial judge:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008843240_webexecution11m.html

This long overdue execution just may happen as scheduled.

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