OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) – The Washington Supreme Court has ruled that the death penalty violates the state’s Constitution.
The ruling Thursday makes Washington the latest state to do away with capital punishment. The justices said the “death penalty is invalid because it is imposed arbitrarily and racially. The justices ordered the people currently on death row have their sentences converted to life in prison.
Gov. Jay Inslee, a one-time supporter of capital punishment, had previously said no executions will take place while he’s in office.
Thursday’s ruling was in the case of Allen Eugene Gregory, who was convicted of raping, robbing and killing Geneine Harshfield, a 43-year-old woman, in 1996.
His lawyers said the death penalty is arbitrarily applied and that it is not applied proportionally, as the state Constitution requires.