Washington Capital Punishment Laws

The legality and application of the death penalty, or capital punishment, varies from state to state. Let's learn more about the specific law in the state of Washington.

Washington State Capital Punishment Laws

Washington State allows capital punishment as a sentence for the most serious homicides (and treason). However, the governor recently halted all executions after a state-wide study was conducted. If and when capital punishment will resume is unclear at this time.

What Methods Of Execution Are Available In Washington?

There are two (2) methods of execution that are legal in Washington: lethal injection and hanging. Lethal injection is used unless a convicted offender chooses hanging as the preferred execution method.

Is There A Minimum Age of For Capital Punishment?

There is no minimum age for executions in Washington.

The main details of Washington's capital punishment laws are highlighted in the following table, with links to additional resources. See FindLaw's Death Penalty section to learn more.

Code Section 10.95.010, et seq.; 10.95.180; 9.82.01
Is Capital Punishment Allowed? Yes
Effect of Defendant's Incapacity Mitigating factor; exempt from execution of mentally retarded
Minimum Age No minimum age
Available for Crimes Other than Homicide? Treason
Definition of Capital Homicide Law enforcement officer, corrections officer or firefighter in performance of official duties; offender escaped from confinement; offender in custody as consequence of felony conviction; agreement for money or value; contracted; obtain, maintain or advance position in organization; during course of or as a result of shooting from or near a motor vehicle used as a transport; victim was member or former member of criminal justice system (judge, attorney, juror, parole officer, etc.) related to their official duties; committed to conceal crime or identity of person committing crime; multiple victims; in connection with robbery, rape, burglary, kidnapping, arson; victim was news reporter and committed to obstruct investigation, research or reporting activities; victim had court order against defendant; victim and defendant were of same household and within 5 years harassment or criminal assault had occurred 3 or more times
Method of Execution Lethal injection or hanging at election of defendant

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Washington criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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