Attorney General: If Cost was Main Issue, Death Penalty Would Already Be Gone

mckenna1If cost was the “determinative” issue, Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna said the death penalty “would have been gone a long time ago.”

Several states are considering dropping the ultimate penalty, though not because of the moral debates that have raged on for so long. They’re doing it to save money.

I had a chance to briefly chat with McKenna (left) while interviewing him about a public records bill. I asked him what he felt about other states, including New Mexico, and their efforts to eliminate the penalty.

“It’s a fact that the death penalty is very expensive to carry out, and opponents have seen (the economic downturn) as a way to advance their agenda,” he said.

He still believes in the death penalty, nonetheless.

“I’ve said for a long time that the people of this state have right to impose the ultimate penalty for the most serious crimes,” he said.

The current debate has changed the tone, McKenna said.

“It’s not a question of whether we can have the law,” he remarked, adding that the question now is whether it’s worth it.

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