The Feb. 19th front page of The Olympian contained two interesting stories. The main headline, "Budget patch signed," dealt with the state's budget crisis and stated that we are still "hundreds of millions" in the red.
The second chronicled Green River Killer Gary Ridgway’s arraignment and life-sentencing for his 49th killing. The article clearly stated that Ridgway was already serving 48 life terms for his previous 48 victims.
Yet, he was transported to King County from Walla Walla (and back again) for this meaningless legal charade — over 500 miles round trip.
Ridgway cannot be executed due to a prior plea bargain that spared him the death penalty. This cost the state and/or county a bundle of money for multiple law enforcement officers who accompanied and guarded Ridgway (presumably on overtime), prosecuting lawyers, legal assistants, the judge, court reporters, gasoline, and probably a public defender.
Why was this necessary? And please spare me any legal mumbo-jumbo. No sane taxpayer believes that a 49th conviction had any effect on Ridgway’s sentence.
It’s time that prosecutors and judges were held accountable for costly and meaningless legal shenanigans like this one.