USA: WASHINGTON STATE ABOLISHES DEATH PENALTY
October 12, 2018:
Washington has become the 20th US state to ban the death penalty, after its Supreme Court ruled on 11 October 2018 the punishment was applied in an "arbitrary and racially biased manner". (Sources: bbc.com, 12/10/2018)
The eight people currently on death row in the north-western state immediately had their sentences commuted to life.
A total of 23 people were executed in the US last year, but Washington has not carried out the death penalty since 2010.
Judges sitting on the Washington state Supreme Court unanimously backed the decision, made during an appeal by death row inmate Allen Eugene Gregory, who raped and murdered a woman in 1996.
The appeal had included a study which showed black convicts were 4.5 times more likely to be sentenced to death in Washington state than white inmates.