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Washington becomes 20th state to outlaw executions

Photo: Per-Anders Pettersson/Liaison/Getty Images

Washington's Supreme Court struck down the state’s death penalty law on Thursday, ruling that it violates the Constitution because it is “imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased manner.”

Why it matters: The move makes Washington the 20th state in the country to outlaw capital punishment. The ruling said that black defendants in Washington are more than four times as likely to be sentenced to death as white defendants. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, this is the third state Supreme Court to strike down the death penalty amid concerns about inherent racial disparities.

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