Washington State Supreme Court declares death penalty unconstitutional

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2008, file photo, the execution chamber at the Washington State Penitentiary is shown with the witness gallery behind glass at right, in Walla Walla, Wash. Washington state's Supreme Court has ruled that the death penalty violates its Constitution. The ruling Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, makes Washington the latest state to do away with capital punishment. They ordered that people currently on death row have their sentences converted to life in prison. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

The Washington Supreme Court handed down a decision Thursday which outlaws the death penalty, making it the 20th state in the country to reject capital punishment.

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously to abolish capital punishment, citing that the death penalty has been imposed in an “arbitrary and racially biased manner.”

The State v. Gregory ruling means that the sentences of death row inmates will be converted to life in prison.

In February of 2014, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee imposed a moratorium which affected nine people on death row.

Washington was the only state where inmates are offered the choice of death by hanging instead of lethal injection, the default method.

The last execution in the state took place in 2010, according to CBC News.



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