JASON RANTZ

Rantz: Washington Dems fight to release murderers, end life without parole

Feb 6, 2020, 6:17 AM
Third Avenue entrance, King County Courthouse, washington murderers...
King County Courthouse in downtown Seattle. (Dyer Oxley, KIRO Radio)
(Dyer Oxley, KIRO Radio)

Democrats really are trying to brand themselves as soft on crime. While I understand the arguments they make as they wrongly move to ban the death penalty, this one takes the cake: They want to end life in prison without parole.

That would give Washington murderers hope that one day they could get out of prison to help massacre even more innocent people. Maybe they’ll get to vote in one election, supporting a Democrat, before their next murder.

SB 5819 effectively ends life without parole. It allows felons convicted of murder 1 the ability to get out of jail after serving 20 consecutive years. Older than 60? Let’s consider you for release, too. After all, do you really have the upper body strength to overpower a victim before you murder them again? You’re old and weak!

The felon would be able to present their argument to a board, which makes the final decision. The board is appointed by the Governor through a social justice lens. The Governor should review “racial inequities in Washington’s criminal justice system” when making the appointments. The Governor must also “ensure” that board members represent “communities most impacted by crime.” They don’t explain why that’s necessary.

This move comes as the Senate voted to abolish the death penalty.

The hearing

Once the murderer petitions the board and is selected for review, the family members of the murder victim can volunteer to be re-traumatized and beg the board to keep the murderer in jail.

If their pleas do not convince the board to keep the murderer in jail, upon release the Department of Corrections “must ensure a defendant is not released to where victim resides.” That should be easy, seeing that murderers follow the law. And the DOC, under Governor Jay Inslee, definitely has a stellar track record in protecting the public.

If the board denies the murderer a second (or third, fourth, or fifth chance, depending on their other criminal history), the murderer is given a written report explaining why. That way, the next time they ask for another chance, they can exploit the written report, lie, and tell the board what they want to hear. Then, bam, out on the streets but this time you won’t take another innocent life.

“No matter how heinous the crime, there would be no life without parole, no death penalty,” State Representative Jenny Graham (R-Spokane) told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

Graham’s younger sister was murdered by Gary Ridgeway. This topic is especially personal to her.

The bad arguments

Democrats in favor of the bill have some rather unconvincing arguments.

Suddenly concerned with fiscal responsibility, they argue that it’s expensive to jail people when they’re older. The older they get, the higher the cost to care for them. And the older you are, the less likely you are to kill again. Shhh. Don’t tell that to Felix Vail.

Another argument is that life without parole doesn’t make us safer. Inexplicably, Democrats argue that “we now know that long term and life sentences are not an effective way of addressing public safety.”

This is an interesting argument since death penalty opponents say we’re only truly punishing someone by keeping them in jail. Killing them? It doesn’t make us any safer and it’s the criminal getting off easy. But now, I guess, releasing a murderer doesn’t hurt us either. Why have prisons at all?

Another claim is inequity!

Four percent of the state population is African American, yet they represent twenty-two percent of those serving LWOP. Prosecutorial discretion in the hands of prosecutors leads to racially disparate results.

They don’t name the racist prosecutors. They never do. Now that they want us to get rid of prisons, I guess we can get rid of prosecutors, too. And I suppose that means no jury duty so no dreaded jury summons, I suppose. Hey, glass half full, right?

That aside, this seems more like an argument to punish more white killers, not lessen the punishment on the non-white ones.

The really, really bad argument

My favorite argument is the one that basically acknowledges we should just get rid of prisons all together. According to the bill summary of arguments (in part):

If we believe that all of our investments in DOC have value and the ability to change people, we ought to be able to look at the person and not the crime that brought them to prison.

Democrats don’t want you looking at the brutal murder that brought the monster to prison. Look at the murderer himself. Uhm, okay?

Prisons do not make people change. People need to be self-motivated. This bill would give offenders an incentive to seek out opportunities for change.

If prisons do not make people change, then why not use the death penalty. You’re trying to take that off the table. But you also don’t want to keep these monsters in jail, either.

The sponsor

The lawmakers behind this bill are a who’s who of woke social justice warriors, including Senator Joe Nguyen (D-White Center) and Senator Claire Wilson (D-Auburn).

The main sponsor is Senator Jeannie Darneille (D-Tacoma). She recently caught my attention when she claimed to be shocked we use x-ray machines, in place of strip searches, to catch people smuggling contraband into prisons. She finds the whole process “tortuous” because if you’re suspected of swallowing drugs or weapons, per the x-ray machine, you’re not allowed to use the bathroom alone until the contraband passes.

This is only torture for the poor correction’s officer.

When we invited Darneille on the show to discuss, she said no, then recommended we talk to someone else. This is the mark of a leader.

So, now what? 

Want to kill this bill? Get angry, get active, and contact your state senator.

“I am fighting to keep the people in Washington safe, but I can’t want it more than they do,” Rep. Graham warns. “So they need to be part of this process to say yes, there are some individuals that, if we catch them soon enough, we can help them, and I’m totally supportive of that as long as they’re doing their part. But when we have situations happen, like the shooting that just happened in Seattle and there’s 65 convictions between I’m for their arrest… clearly these individuals have plenty of time to be rehabilitated and they didn’t care.”

So, you have a choice. You can call your senators and ask them to kill this bill. Or you can stay silent and let this bill pass. Hopefully, after it passes, you won’t bump into one of the murderers they let go free.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter.

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Rantz: Washington Dems fight to release murderers, end life without parole