ConclusionThere is no doubt but that these cases are unlike all others, given the number of years their adjudication and review takes, the amount of money they cost, and their uncertain results. Partially as a result of a general lack of knowledge of the procedures governing capital cases and partially due to unrealistic expectations that the courts should be able to resolve them expeditiously, many people have articulated a loss of confidence in the justice system when discussing death penalty cases within the court trial and appellate process.
Consideration of how aggravated murder cases should be handled, and how resources should be allocated within the criminal justice system, is in the province of the legislature. It is my hope that the documentation of how capital punishment operates in Washington will be of use to the legislature and the public in assessing the benefits and burdens of death penalty cases.
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