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capital punishment

On January 25, 1997, Cecil Emile Davis, a “violent offender” on state supervision, broke into the Tacoma home of 65-year-old Yoshiko Couch. Once inside he raped and beat her and then suffocated her by holding a rag soaked in cleaning solvents over her mouth.

Davis was later convicted of aggravated first degree murder and sentenced to death.

Faced with an expiring supply of a controversial sedative, the state of Arkansas plans to execute eight men over 11 days — a pace that is unprecedented in recent U.S. history and that has been criticized by lawyers and former corrections officials.

The state is set to carry out the executions two a day on four days between April 17 and April 27. Multiple lawsuits have been filed over the schedule, citing concerns about the speed. Arkansas' governor and attorney general say the deaths will bring closure to victims' families.

During a sentencing hearing in Texas two decades ago, a defense attorney for a man named Duane Buck called on an expert who said his client's race made it more statistically likely that he would commit violent crimes in the future.

Because of that statement, the Supreme Court has ruled 6-2 that Buck, who is black, can appeal his death sentence.

It's the latest development in a case that Chief Justice John Roberts describes as "a perfect storm" of circumstances that he says culminated in a lower court "making a decision on life or death on the basis of race."

A bipartisan proposal to repeal the death penalty in Washington state will get a hearing Wednesday morning. But the Democratic chair of the House Judiciary Committee said there’s no plan to hold a vote on the measure.

Gov. John Kasich has put Ohio executions on hold until May, citing a legal challenge to the state's three-drug lethal injection protocol.

The governor's office released a statement saying it had postponed the execution dates for the next eight prisoners on death row, including the next prisoner to die, Ronald Phillips, who had his date moved from next Wednesday to May 10.

'Week in Review' panel Sherman Alexie, Phyllis Fletcher, Rob McKenna and Bill Radke.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States today. We’re asking you, our listeners, to call in and tell us: What did you hear in his inauguration speech?

Should Washington abolish the death penalty?

Jan 17, 2017
In this Nov. 20, 2008, file photo, the execution chamber at the Washington State Penitentiary is shown with the witness gallery behind glass at right, in Walla Walla, Wash.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Bill Radke speaks with State Senator Steve O'Ban and Seattle attorney Jason Rittereiser about the proposal by the attorney general's office to abolish the death penalty in Washington State. 

A bipartisan group of Washington state politicians Monday endorsed the abolishment of the death penalty. The group included the current Democratic Attorney General Bob Ferguson and his Republican predecessor Rob McKenna.

The pair were flanked at a capitol news conference by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee and a half-dozen senators and representatives from both parties.

Updated at 6:55 p.m. ET

A jury has sentenced to death the man who murdered nine people in a Charleston church basement in 2015.

The twelve jurors deliberated for about three hours before sentencing Dylann Roof, 22, to die. To impose the death penalty, they had to reach a unanimous decision.

Prosecutors filed charges Wednesday against the man accused of fatally shooting five people at the Cascade Mall in Burlington last September.

Arcan Cetin, a 20-year-old Oak Harbor resident, is charged with five counts of aggravated murder.

Execution Halted For Jeff Wood, Who Never Killed Anyone

Aug 19, 2016

From the Texas Tribune:

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has halted the execution of Jeff Wood — a man who never killed anyone — six days before he was set to die by lethal injection.

The U.S. Supreme Court took action in two capital cases Tuesday, with dissenting justices from the right and left pricking their colleagues in dissent.

In one, the court ordered the resentencing of a convicted Arizona killer because the jury was not told that if he were sentenced to life in prison, there was no chance he would be paroled. And in the other, the court declined to hear a broad constitutional challenge to the death penalty.

The pharmaceutical company Pfizer said Friday it will move to prevent its drugs from being used in lethal injections.

An effort to abolish the death penalty in Washington state this year seems to be losing steam.