National Coalition to

Abolish the Death Penalty

90 million Americans believe the death penalty is wrong. We mobilize them to end the death penalty state by state.
Join the Movementnavigateright

Washington State Supreme Court Abolishes Death Penalty

A Victory We Can All Be Proud Of

In America today there is one less state in our country that uses the death penalty. Congratulations to lawyers for this litigation victory which now enables Washington State to join the noble ranks of American states who have abolished the death penalty. 

The language the Washington State Supreme Court used to unanimously strike down the death penalty has sent reverberations across the nation. The Washington Supreme Court confirmed something that we in the movement have known and communicated all along; that the death penalty is arbitrary and racially biased. In her lead opinion, Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst wrote: “The death penalty is unequally applied – sometimes by where the crime took place, or the county of residence, or the available budgetary resources at any given point in time, or the race of the defendant. Our capital punishment law lacks ‘fundamental fairness.’” 

The abolition of the death penalty in Washington State did not occur overnight. It is the result of a years’ long strategy of public education, policy maker influence and providing competent legal representation, that was carried out by a strong core of death penalty abolitionist united by a single, driven mission: to end this barbaric practice in their state. 

This three-pronged approach to achieving abolition has been at the center of NCADP’s work. With our webinar series, NCADP has given a new generation of abolitionist the facts they need and grassroots strategies that result in effective engagement with policy makers, friends, family and colleagues. In addition, for over a decade, NCADP has been there in Washington supporting training and technical assistance to the capital defense teams that have saved so many lives in the state. 

In the past 15 years, seven states – Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, and New York – have abolished capital punishment either via court order or legislative act. And in Colorado, Oregon and Pennsylvania, moratoriums that have halted executions have been adopted. 

Clearly, the national mood against the death penalty is rising. Each day, abolitionists are taking important steps by utilizing proven and tested strategies to reach new people to help achieve our historic goals. Washington is yet another step closer to the ultimate goal of abolishing the death penalty in America.

The news out of Washington shows we’re on the right path, and that the strategy we’ve employed is educating new people each day about the systemic flaws in the death penalty. With your help, we will continue to make history each day. 

We are encouraging all our supporters to say “Thank You” to the legal team in Washington State that devised the litigation strategy that paved the way for abolition. Please show your support via Twitter by sending this message: 
“As a dedicated supporter of @ncadp and #deathpenalty repeal, we congratulate the #WashingtonStateDPLegalTeam on their historic victory leading to abolition of the death penalty in #WashingtonState.”

Thank you again for being such an important part of our movement.


Join the community to end the death penalty. Get email updates.