Washington state court throws out death penalty, calling it racially biased

Gov. Jay Inslee left addresses a news conference with Attorney General Bob Ferguson following an earlier announcement that Washington’s Supreme Court unanimously struck down the state’s death penalty Thursday Oct. 11 2018 in Olympia Wash. Washi

The Supreme Court of Washington in a Thursday ruling declared the state's capital punishment regime incompatible with its constitution.

"It is now apparent that the death penalty is administered in an arbitrary and biased manner", the court said.

The news is welcome, but not particularly surprising. There are also four states where a governor-imposed moratorium on capital punishment has been put in place.

Gov. Jay Inslee, a one-time supporter of capital punishment, imposed the 2014 moratorium.

Following the supreme court ruling, Inslee released a statement calling the ruling a "hugely important moment" in the pursuit of "equal and fair application of justice".

His lawyers, Neil Fox and Lila Silverstein, said the death penalty is arbitrarily applied and that it is not applied proportionally, as the state Constitution requires. 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.

Allen Eugene Gregory, for rape and murder of a 43-year-old woman on July 26, 1996, in Pierce County.

But the Supreme Court rejected that argument and relied on the study in its decision.

"We have been researching this issue for more than five years, and the evidence is clear and compelling that black defendants are far more likely to be sentenced to death than other similarly situated defendants in Washington's capital cases", UW sociology professor Katherine Beckett, one of the study's authors, says in an email.

According to the DOC, Washington state has executed 78 people with the last being Cal Coburn Brown in 2010 by lethal injection.

"The death penalty, as administered by our state, fails to serve any legitimate penological goal", the majority opinion written by Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst states.

Thirty states and the federal government provide for the imposition of death as a sentence for some homicides.

The alternative, trying to revise the state's death penalty to make it constitutional, is unfeasible, and Inslee said he'd veto it anyway.

Dozens of former state judges took the unusual step of urging the court to use Gregory's case to strike down capital punishment.

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

"This is terrible", Kathleen O'Bert said after the ruling.

The concerns cited in those states have ranged from procedural matters, such as the information provided to sentencing jurors in NY, to worries about executing an innocent person or racial and other disparities in who is sentenced to death, as was the case in Washington. "Next session, I will again propose legislation repealing the death penalty, replacing it with life in prison without the possibility of parole".

The justices declined to revisit Gregory's conviction for aggravated first-degree murder, saying that it "has already been appealed and affirmed by this court".

Opponents of the death penalty, such as the ACLU, are cheering the decision.

As it stands, 31 U.S. states still have the death penalty, while 19 states do not. Reuven Carlyle, who had been a sponsor of those previous attempts, said in a text message.

Related News:



Most liked

Fortnite Android beta now open for compatible devices
You'll need to go through a few authentication steps, but otherwise it's pretty much just like installing any other app. As long as you have a compatible device, you can download the game and start playing immediately.

Young people 'turning their backs on booze - with nearly a third teetotal'
A large proportion of young people in England are shunning alcohol completely, a study has suggested. The study says it is hard to pinpoint a single factor for the decline in alcohol consumption.

International Monetary Fund to seek 'absolute transparency' of Pakistan's debts in bailout talks
Trump has levied or threatened tariffs on goods from economies around the world, notably China, but also on traditional allies such as the European Union.

International Monetary Fund downgrades outlook for U.S., China as result of trade war
USA stimulus also adds to the "already-unsustainable" debt and deficit that will undercut future growth, the report warns. It said that the composition of spending and revenues should be growth friendly and protect the most vulnerable.

Cousins, defense lead Vikings over Eagles 23-21 | Bowling
On first-and-goal at the Vikings 6, linebacker Eric Kendricks stripped running back Jay Ajayi and recovered the fumble at the 5. If the Redskins lose tonight the Eagles will be just a half game out of first place. "We need those guys", Pederson said.

Cyclone weakens; nine dead in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha
The IMD advised total suspension of fishing operations and shifting of coastal hutment dwellers to safe places. The weather system was expected to curve to the northeast and weaken gradually, India's weather bureau said.

Northern Florida Hit Hard By Powerful Hurricane Michael
Parts of North Carolina and Virginia could get as much as 9 inches (23cm) of rain and life-threatening flash floods, the NHC said. Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center in hard-hit Panama City, 32 km northwest of Mexico Beach, was treating some of the injured.

What Alex Cora Expects From Rick Porcello In Game 4 Against Yankees
Adding to the humiliation, the Red Sox got to revel in a second champagne celebration at Yankee Stadium in less than three weeks. In possibly his final start of a 10-year run with the Yankees, Sabathia allowed three runs on five hits in three innings.

Croatia v England: Gareth Southgate on 'strange' experience at HNK Rijeka Stadium
We've obviously got a different team from the team that played in the semi-final and it's a good challenge for us. Dalic added: "I would agree with Luka though there is always a level of respect between the teams".

Luis Severino was tipping pitches in blowout loss to Red Sox
It comes as no surprise to anyone that Justin Verlander will get the ball in Game 1 and Gerrit Cole will start Game 2. No matter hard you throw, Major League Baseball hitters can time it up, especially if they know it's coming.

Tanushree Dutta lodges FIR against Nana Patekar and three others in Mumbai
Dutta also added in her complaint that she could not understand the contents of the FIR, as it was written in Marathi. Satpute said Tanushree has been provided police security at the residential building where her home is.

Razer has unveiled its new US$799 Razer Phone 2
Finally, the handset was listed with a 5.72-inch LCD display sporting a QHD resolution and 120Hz refresh variable rate. The Razer Phone 2 comes with 645 nits of brightness and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection on top of the display .

Mourinho hands Sanchez new role at Manchester United after performance against Newcastle
Yes, I think there are things that should not be done from the players' side and from the manager and above. Pogba told L'Equipe: 'I have never played for France to be captain.

Xiaomi Mi Box S with 4K HDR support announced for Rs 4,450
The media streaming device streams in 4K and features Android TV 8.1 with Chromecast and Google Assistant functionality. However, Pixel devices weren't the only thing to launch today, as Xiaomi just launched the brand new Xiaomi Mi Box S.

Oil extends losses as markets fall, inventories climb
Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub rose by 2.2 million barrels, API said. The Fund reduced the global economic growth from 3.9 to 3.7 percent. -China tensions.