The ranking Republican on the state Senate’s Law and Justice Committee is speaking out against Thursday’s Washington Supreme Court ruling that sentencing youth to life without parole is unconstitutional.
Senator Mike Padden says that, in 2012, the Legislature passed a law that allows life in prison in specific juvenile cases as long as the judge in the case considers certain criteria.
“I think the majority really stretched their reasoning on this,” said Padden, R-Spokane Valley. “The trial judge went over all of the factors, including what the defendant was capable of understanding, and he met all of the criteria under the 2012 law. I think that is why the dissent is so vociferous.”
Now 39-year-old Brian Bassett was convicted of three counts of aggravated first-degree murder for fatally shooting his parents and drowning his 5-year-old brother in a bathtub in Grays Harbor County in 1996, when he was 16-year-old.
Padden says he’s hopeful that the Grays Harbor prosecutor will appeal the ruling.
“We really don’t need a super-legislature as our supreme court, and that’s really what the majority has called for with this decision,” Padden added.