Washington Supreme Court deems state’s death penalty unconstitutional

On Thursday, Washington Supreme Court justices unanimously ruled the death penalty violated the state’s constitution.

Specifically, the court found imposition of the death penalty to be arbitrary and racially biased. Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst wrote:

“The death penalty, as administered in our state, fails to serve any legitimate penological goal.”

The eight inmates currently on death row in Washington state will have their sentences converted to life imprisonment.

The ruling makes Washington the 20th state without the death penalty, practiced less nationwide now due to lethal injection drugs being increasingly difficult to obtain.

Washington’s last execution was in 2010. In 2014, Gov. Jay Inslee instituted a moratorium against scheduling executions.

In her opinion for the court, Chief Justice Fairhurst cautioned the ruling was based on unlawful implementation of Washington’s existing death penalty law, leaving it to the state legislature to re-institute capital punishment as law.

 

[BuzzFeed] [Washington Post] [Photo courtesy Seattle Times]