Butchered bill passes out of committee

The Law & Justice Committee passed a MISERABLE substitute bill. It allows review only for people over 60, completely eliminates review for agg murder because they’re doing away with the death penalty, and adds even more language about victims. Pedersen made it absolutely clear that they have no intention of even considering agg murder. 

What now? We will have some chances to ask for amendments along with way as the bill goes forward–if it does–but once again, they basically chickened out, catering to prosecutors and other “stakeholders.” The House is notoriously timid about positive criminal justice reform, so our odds of fixing this bill there are not good. I am furious. 

Here is their own statement of what their new bill does. The new bill itself is long and will be up on our website ASAP.

Effect Statement 

PSSB 5819 Dhingra Ivory 

·Modifies the eligibility criteria to petition for post conviction review (Section 2):
o Person must not currently be under jurisdiction of the Board by another statute;

o If person is serving a sentence for Murder 1, person must have served 20 consecutive years for the current charge prior to petitioning

o Person may petition for review if over the age of 60 and has served at least one-half of sentence

o Person may not have any appeals pending

·Language is added to reinforce involvement of victim in consideration for release (Section 3): 

o If victim chooses to participate, Board must consider victim input regarding protective measures for supervision and supports victim may need if person released;

o Board encouraged to develop standard written victim impact questionnaire for submittal to the Board in addition to the standard victim impact statement; 

o Prosecutors office must certify they have exhausted all reasonable efforts to locate and contact victim;

o Department must ensure defendant is not released to where victim resides;

o If offender commits new law violation while on supervision, Board must return offender to institution for remainder of sentence. Offender may not file new petition for release. (Section 3) 

o Clarifies in RCW 9.94A.570 that person sentenced to LWOP for aggravated murder is not eligible for release. (Section 7) 

o Adjusts membership and minimum qualifications of Board. Board ember to include a victim’s advocate. (Section 14)

o Allows JUVBRD offender (person committed prior to his or her 18th birthday) to petition for review after serving no less than fifteen years of total confinement rather than twenty. (Section 35) 

Carol Estes
Prison Voice Washington

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