Washington State Supreme Court denies motion to release prison inmates

Apr 23, 2020, 4:13 PM | Updated: Apr 24, 2020, 2:17 pm

Seattle income tax, I-27, mccleary, I-940, state Supreme Court, youtube channel...

Washington State Supreme Court. (Harvey Barrison, Flickr)

(Harvey Barrison, Flickr)

In a 5-4 ruling, the Washington State Supreme Court has denied a motion to release thousands of inmates from state prisons, including many dangerous offenders.

The lawsuit claimed Gov. Inslee and the Department of Corrections were not able to provide safe conditions for prisoners amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Read the full ruling

The Attorney General’s office and victims expressed concern that it would have meant some of the state’s most dangerous people would be back on the streets. Tonya Fenton told KTTH’s Jason Rantz that could have included Isaac Zamora, who killed six people, including her mom, in 2008.

The state AG’s office estimated that under the broadest interpretation of the petition, about 12,000 inmates would have been eligible for release.

That would have included the release of any inmate over 50 years old, anyone with an underlying health condition, or anyone with 18 months or less left on their sentence. Under those standards, that could also have included serial killers, like Green River Killer Gary Ridgway.

Petitioners filing the case, though, argued that the state would be able to exercise discretion to prevent inmates like Ridgway from being released.

WA Supreme Court hears case arguing for release of thousands of inmates

The state’s case against releasing more inmates was largely rooted in the argument that prisons have already taken appropriate measures, including a previous release of inmates with scheduled release dates in June.

KIRO Radio’s Hanna Scott contributed to this report.

MyNorthwest News

Providence nurses picket...

L.B. Gilbert

Nurses reach tentative deal with Providence Medical Center-Everett

Nurses are back on the job in Everett at Providence Medical Center, but issues remain before a new contract will be signed.

38 minutes ago


KIRO 7 News Staff

Local rivers on the rise, flood alert issued as heavy rain drenches the region

A King County Flood Alert issued at 6:44 a.m. Tuesday said the Snoqualmie River has reached flood Phase 3 and that moderate flooding is expected in low-lying areas throughout the Snoqualmie Valley.

1 hour ago

Fast food workers...

Lisa Brooks

Renton minimum wage initiative to go before the voters

The Renton City Council had the option of approving the wage increase immediately, but decided not to do so Monday night.

2 hours ago

uw sugar bowl alaska air...

Frank Sumrall

Flights added after fans get irate over cost to see UW Huskies in Sugar Bowl

For those wanting to support UW in person, which will be played in the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, airline tickets are as expensive as ever.

2 hours ago

(Photo from KIRO 7)...

KIRO 7 News Staff

Gov. Inslee proposes to spend $82 million from opioid settlement on new fentanyl treatment centers

Governor Inslee is proposing our state spend the $82 million settlement with opioid manufacturers on new walk-in treatment centers intended to help save lives from fentanyl use.

2 hours ago

foster holiday magic...

Micki Gamez

Former foster kid works to connect other foster kids with job resources

Neveah Brewer grew up in the state of Washington foster care system. She said the system was tough because she bounced around in Seattle.

4 hours ago

Washington State Supreme Court denies motion to release prison inmates