By Hanna Scott, APRIL 18, 2019 AT 4:07 PM
The bill to officially end the death penalty in Washington state failed to get a vote ahead of Wednesday’s deadline.
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That left three possibilities for the Legislature: fix the law, abolish it, or leave the law on the books as is — entirely unenforceable after the court’s decision.
State Attorney General Bob favored abolition of the death penalty. He requested a bill to abolish capital punishment. In a House committee last month, Ferguson explained why.
“Leaving an unenforceable law on the books increases the risk that we will repeat history. Four times in our state’s history the courts have struck down Washington’s death penalty in a similar way as just happened – as applied. The previous three times, the legislature implemented fixes to the death penalty that ultimately failed to address its arbitrary and racially biased application. I do not think that going through that again would be something the state should do.”
There’s been opposition to abolishing Washington’s death penalty from Republicans. Some want to keep it on the books, and others have tried to include amendments that would allow it to be used in certain cases, like when a person who is already serving life without parole kills again while behind bars.
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That was the case in 2012, when convicted murderer Byron Scherf — who was already serving life without parole — killed Monroe Corrections Officer Jayme Biendl in the prison chapel.