Washington Becomes 20th State to Abolish Death Penalty After Court’s Ruling

12 Octubre, 2018, 11:43 | Author: Kelly Blake
  • Washington’s Supreme Court has declared that its capital punishment is applied “in an arbitrary and racially

After years of litigation and research, nine State Supreme Court Justices unanimously siding with Gregory ruling that Washington's death penalty is unconstitutional.

"The death penalty, as administered in our state, fails to serve any legitimate enological goal", the Washington Supreme Court said, adding it "is invalid because it is imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased manner".

The news is welcome, but not particularly surprising.

Dick Morgan, former head of the state Department of Corrections, was involved in three executions.

Gov. Jay Inslee, who has called unsuccessfully for the Legislature to abolish the death penalty and in 2014 placed a moratorium on executions during his term in office, hailed the decision Thursday morning. "When the ultimate decision is death", he said in his official statement, "there is too much at stake to accept an imperfect system". It joins Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, as well as the District of Columbia, in banning the practice.

Washington now becomes the 20th state in the Union without the death penalty.

"While this particular case provides an opportunity to specifically address racial disproportionality, the underlying issues that underpin our holding are rooted in the arbitrary manner in which the death penalty is generally administered". After a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1974 put the death penalty on hold nationally, Washington voters passed a state capital punishment law in 1975 by more than 2-to-1.

The court's decision on Thursday was unanimous, with the justices determining that capital punishment is applied "in an arbitrary and racially biased manner". He was convicted of first-degree murder in 2001 and sentenced to death.

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Today's ruling relies extensively on a 2014 report by two University of Washington sociologists, the first to comprehensively study the application of the death penalty in Washington.

Of the 30 states in which capital punishment is still legal, there have been no executions in 16 of them since 1976. Davis is one of eight men who had been on death row at the State Penitentiary in Walla Walla.

Advocates for capital punishment argue it should be available for those who commit the worst crimes.

Opponents of the death penalty have fought to abolish it for years.

Dunham said it was important that the ruling was based on the facts of Washington's use of capital punishment.

Capital punishment has been on the decline in the United States for several years, but the Administration of Republican President Donald Trump has said it is considering expanding its use for some federal crimes.

In its ruling Thursday, the high court did not reconsider any of Gregory's arguments pertaining to guilty, noting that his conviction for aggravated first degree murder "has already been appealed and affirmed by this court". We should act quickly to remove the death penalty from state law once and for all. Reuven Carlyle, who had been a sponsor of those previous attempts, said in a text message.

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