PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt is among 100 law enforcement officials across the United States calling for a halt to the federal death penalty.
The plea comes as the Trump Administration is on track for a record-setting wave of federal executions during the presidential transition. After a 17-year hiatus in executing federal inmates, 8 have been put to death this year. Four men and a woman set to die before President-elect Biden is inaugurated on January 20, 2021.
Schmidt and the DAs for Deschutes County and King County (Seattle) signed on to a statement asking President Trump to commute the death sentences to life in prison.
“Some states don’t have it at all and some states do. And what we don’t see is any kind of a deterrent effect for the states that have it on the books versus those who don’t,” Schmidt told KOIN 6 News. “So, there’s no deterrent. And in terms of, you know, plea negotiations and leverage into getting people to admit, you know, life without the possibility of parole is a large enough hammer.
The death penalty is legal in Oregon but governors have kept a moratorium on executions since 2011. In 2018, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled the death penalty unconstitutional because “it is imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased manner.”