Wash. Supreme Court hears death penalty debate - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Wash. Supreme Court hears death penalty debate

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    OLYMPIA, Wash. - Lawmakers are considering a bill that would abolish the state's death penalty. The Senate Judiciary Committee heard public testimony on the measure Friday. Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, is sponsoring the bill and told the committee that the death penalty is ineffective, expensive, unequal and inhumane.>>

















(Washington State Capitol grounds, including state supreme
court. Photo Courtesy: leg.wa.gov)


OLYMPIA, Wash. - An attorney representing three death row prisoners argued Thursday the state Department of Corrections lacks authority to establish execution policies, and she says the Legislature needs to overhaul state law on the issue.
     
Attorney Sherilyn Peterson argued before the state Supreme Court Thursday that state statutes only say that the superintendent of the prison can supervise the death, but that there is no delegation of authority to the department that requires guidelines or safeguards.
     
Assistant Attorney General John Samson, representing the department, says that execution policies are an executive policy to be made by the agency, not the Legislature.
     
The court heard the arguments as part of a challenge to the constitutionality of the state's execution policies and procedures.

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