Washington state abolishes the death penalty

Inslee's signature makes the state the 23rd to completely outlaw the penalty.

Published: April 21, 2023 3:51pm

Washington state has abolished the death penalty, making it the 23rd U.S. state to do so.

Gov. Jay Inslee have previously issued a moratorium on capital punishment in Washington in 2014. On Thursday, he signed legilsation that formally ended the practice, The Hill reported.

"I initiated a moratorium against the death penalty in Washington State in 2014, and our rationale for that decision was affirmed by our Supreme Court decision in 2018, when they invalidated the death penalty statute," he said. "They made clear, and we know this to be true, that the penalty has been applied unequally and in a racially insensitive manner."

Inslee's signature makes the state the 23rd to completely outlaw the penalty, while three more officially have it, but with a governor-imposed moratorium on its use, according to deathpenaltyinfo.org.

A further 24 states maintain the death penalty and the divide falls largely on partisan lines, with Republican-leaning states largely maintaining the death sentences while Democrats have tended to support its abolition.

Washington's move comes in contrast to a reform in Florida this week that ended the requirement for a jury to unanimously recommend the death penalty and instead require that only eight of twelve jurors support its use.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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