4:23 AM / Sunday April 21, 2024

19 Oct 2018

State court throws out death penalty disproportionately affecting Black people

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
October 19, 2018 Category: Week In Review Posted by:

Washington State is now the 20th state to outlaw the racially biased practice.


By Clarissa Hamlin


A Washington State court struck down the state’s controversial death penalty last Thursday after ruling that racial bias led to more African-Americans facing executions than white defendants. It was a unanimous decision that was years in the making, motivated by the alarming rate at which Black people were sentenced to capital punishment.

The state’s death penalty laws, repeatedly revised since the 1970s, allowed for Black people convicted of capital crimes to be sentenced to execution 3.5 to 4.6 times as often as White people convicted in comparable cases, according to research University of Washington scholars Katherine Beckett and Heather Evans presented to the court. Predominately Black counties in the state were also the “likeliest to see death sentences sought and imposed.”

To make matters worse, the laws had also been declared unconstitutional three times prior to Thursday’s ruling.

“The death penalty is invalid because it is imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased manner. While this particular case provides an opportunity to specifically address racial disproportionality, the underlying issues that underpin our holding are rooted in the arbitrary manner in which the death penalty is generally administered,” justices said about their landmark decision in their filed court opinion.

With the ruling, Washington state has become the 20th state to end capital punishment, as activists have tirelessly fought for the practice to be outlawed in all states.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Philly NAACP

April 14, 2024

March 17, 2024

Tweet Email Tweet Email Related Posts Philadelphia Judicial Primary Candidates At A Glance Guide Philadelphia Judicial Candidates...


Hank Aaron rose above racist hate mail and threats in pursuit of Ruth’s home run record 50 years ago

April 14, 2024

Tweet Email ABOVE PHOTO: Hank Aaron holds aloft the ball he hit for his 715th career home...


Mental health and the ALS community

April 13, 2024

Tweet Email BPTSponsored by Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America, Inc. (MTPA) Each year, an estimated 5,000-6,000 Americans are...

Election 2024

Federal data does not show a soaring number of unauthorized migrants registering to vote

April 14, 2024

Tweet Email ABOVE PHOTO: SCREEN SHOT By Melissa GoldinASSOCIATED PRESS CLAIM Social Security Administration data shows the...

Color Of Money

Five financial tips to take your business to the next level

April 5, 2024

Tweet Email BPTBy Irana Wasti, chief product officer at BILL Building a business is an incredible journey,...


Jump start the spring season by getting vaccinated against this potentially serious lung disease

April 5, 2024

Tweet Email BPT Spring is the season of new beginnings — a time when we can finally...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff