Washington’s death penalty is starting to resemble a Cold War nuclear arsenal: It works by not working.
Pierce County Prosecutor Gerry Horne has complained in the past that condemned murderers basically never get executed in this state unless they insist on it. But he recently found that the death penalty came in quite handy when he promised Terapon Dang Adhahn he wouldn’t seek it if Adhahn told him where he left Zina Linnik. Gene Johnson of the Associated Press reported a few days ago that this may reflect an “evolving strategy’ on the part of prosecutors of employing the state’s capital punishment law as a bargaining chip.
Hence the parallel with an H-bomb. You can’t use it in reality; you use it only hypothetically, solely to intimidate. It’s a big gun in your holster – just don’t try pulling it out. And you might as well bargain it away if you can get something for it.