Attorney General’s statements regarding Gov. Inslee’s death penalty moratorium

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson - Contributed photo
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson
— image credit: Contributed photo

Attorney General Bob Ferguson today issued the following statements regarding Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement that he is implementing a moratorium on all executions as long as he serves as governor.

“Washington’s Constitution and state statutes grant the governor significant powers over the fate of individuals sentenced to death,” Ferguson said. “Consequently, the governor has the authority to hit the “pause” button for executions in Washington.”

Article III, Section 9 of the Washington Constitution and RCW 10.01.120 grant the Governor authority to issue reprieves — or stays of execution— as he announced he intended to do today.

Washington currently has nine death row inmates. All nine are challenging their convictions in state or federal court.  The Attorney General’s Office is handling the four cases currently in federal court.

The Office of Attorney General represents the state of Washington when death row inmates file “habeas corpus” petitions— or challenges to their convictions or sentences—with the federal courts. The Attorney General’s Office also represents the Department of Corrections in state and federal court litigation challenging death row inmates’ conditions of confinement and DOC’s execution policies and procedures.

“Consistent with the governor’s announcement, the Office of the Attorney General will continue to defend the state against cases brought by death row inmates challenging their convictions and sentences,” Ferguson said.

The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions.

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