Year of Reenactment
(since 1972 suspension)
Year of First Execution
(since reenactment)

1891-1912: hanging

1913-1918: no death penalty

1919-1980: hanging

1981-present: lethal injection or hanging

Current Method
Inmate choice of lethal injection or hanging


Washington has life without parole.  A jury decides the sentence.  The Governor has the power to commute death sentences to life imprisonment and hard labor upon such conditions and restrictions as the Governor thinks proper.


In June of 2002 the Washington state Supreme Court unanimously adopted higher standards of representation for death penalty cases after a newspaper study revealed that at least 20% of defense attorneys on capital cases were later disbarred, suspended, or even arrested.

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