Washington state has instituted a new process to allow individuals on active community supervision for certain drug possession convictions to directly petition Gov. Jay Inslee to commute their sentences. Inslee is prepared to issue unconditional commutations for eligible petitioners to eliminate any remaining community supervision involving drug possession convictions that have been invalidated by the Washington Supreme Court, as well as any obligation to pay on related legal financial obligations.
“I am committed to doing what I can to try to remedy the situation and assist the courts who are doing what they can to get through this backlog of cases,” Inslee said. “I want to thank the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) and State Office of Public Defense (OPD) for stepping up to help me provide clemency relief to eligible petitioners.”
This new path to commutations will allow expedited relief for thousands of individuals following February’s State of Washington v. Blake decision, in which the Washington State Supreme Court declared Washington’s simple drug possession statute unconstitutional.
There are currently over 1,200 individuals who remain on active DOC community supervision, solely for drug possession convictions held invalid by the Washington State Supreme Court in Blake. These individuals are now eligible to petition for a commutation through this new program. The DOC has begun disseminating petitions to its community correction officers to share with eligible individuals, and DOC will pass those completed petitions to OPD, which will process the petitions and send along proposed orders for the governor’s signature. Since the first completed petitions arrived at the Office of the Governor, Inslee has already issued over 100 unconditional commutations, with additional orders being issued daily.
Read the full story on the governor's Medium page.