I feel fortunate that I met Sister Prejean twice while she was in Seattle. She was here to take part in lectures and to support those death row inmates who had been exonerated and were members of Witness to Innocence sharing their stories.
Indeed a remarkable soul.
The following is Washington State’s status.
On October 11, 2018, in the case of State v. Gregory, the Supreme Court of Washington found:
“the death penalty is invalid because it is imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased manner. The use of the death penalty is unequally applied – sometimes by where the crime took place, or the county of residence, or the available budgetary resources at any given point in time, or the race of the defendant. The death penalty, as administered in our state, fails to serve any legitimate penological goal; thus, it violates article I, section 14 of the state constitution. All death sentences are hereby converted to life imprisonment.”
Stanford University .
“Sister Helen Prejean is known around the world for her tireless work against the death penalty. She has been instrumental in sparking national dialogue on capital punishment and in shaping the Catholic Church’s vigorous opposition to all executions. Born on April 21,1939, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, she joined the Sisters of St. Joseph of Medaille (now known as the Congregation of St. Joseph) in 1957. She worked as a high school teacher and served as the Religious Education Director at St. Frances Cabrini Parish in New Orleans before moving into the St. Thomas Housing Project in the early ’80s. In 1982, Sister Helen began corresponding with Patrick Sonnier, who had been sentenced to death for the murder of two teenagers. Two years later, when Patrick Sonnier was put to death in the electric chair, Sister Helen was there to witness his execution. In the following months, she became spiritual advisor to another death row inmate, Robert Lee Willie, who was to meet the same fate as Sonnier. After witnessing these executions, Sister Helen realized that this lethal ritual would remain unchallenged unless its secrecy was stripped away, and so she sat down and wrote a book, Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States. That book ignited a national debate on capital punishment and spawned an Academy Award winning movie, a play, and an opera. Sister Helen’s second book, The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions, was published in 2004; her third book, River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey, will be published by Random House in August, 2019. For more information on Sister Helen Prejean.”