There will be no more state-sanctioned murders of possibly innocent and disproportionally black people in Washington State! According to the Seattle Times, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled today that "the death penalty violates its Constitution" because it's arbitrarily administered and racist.
As of last year, we had 8 people on death row, according to the LA Times, but Gov. Inslee said he wouldn't execute them. As a result of today's ruling, they'll all serve life terms. A majority of them were born in the 1950s.
Former congressional candidate Jason Rittereiser would also like everyone to know that he invented the idea of abolishing the death penalty.
“The death penalty is invalid because it is imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased manner.” - WA Supreme Court (State v. Gregory, 10/11/18).
My Op-Ed - “the penalty has not and cannot be administered fairly... it is applied arbitrarily.” (1/3/17) https://t.co/ijyKOLSUPh
— Jason Rittereiser (@JRittereiser) October 11, 2018
Earlier this year, a legislative effort to repeal capital punishment narrowly passed the state senate but didn't progress out of committee before the session ended when it went back to the House.
Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle) has led the charge to repeal the penalty for a decade. Over the phone he says he's "really thrilled."
Though the Court ruled capital punishment unconstitutional as it's been applied in Washington state, it didn't rule that it's fundamentally unconstitutional, so some legislatures still want to pass a bill. Though the current death penalty law can no longer be used, the legislature could technically try to pass a bill that fixes the problems with the death penalty (i.e. make it not inequitable and racially biased), or they just could just pass Carlyle's bill and abolish it all together.
"The ruling adds bold and unstoppable legal momentum to our legislation for 2019, which would eliminate the death penalty categorically," Carlyle said. "This is our year and our time."