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Japan | Trial ruling date for man accused of 1966 murder set for September

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Iwao Hakamada, who in a rare example is being retried over a 1966 murder case, will be given a verdict on Sept. 26, the Shizuoka District Court said Wednesday, which could see him finally acquitted more than five decades after he was sentenced to death by the same court. In the last trial session, prosecutors again sought the death penalty for the 88-year-old, saying there is enough evidence to show that Hakamata is the perpetrator, while defense lawyers argued that he is not guilty.

Washington Legislature votes to repeal death penalty

Nearly 5 years after Washington's death penalty law was ruled unconstitutional, the Legislature has voted to permanently repeal capital punishment in the state.

The state House voted 58-39 on Friday to remove remaining references to the death penalty from Washington law.

The measure, which was approved by the state Senate in February, now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee.

The Legislature's action has no immediate effect, since a 2018 court ruling already took the death penalty off the table for prosecutors. Yet the law's formal repeal makes "a profound moral statement," state Sen. Jamie Pedersen (D-Seattle), the bill's sponsor, told Axios yesterday.

State executions have long been rare in Washington, with the last 1 carried out in 2010.

In 2014, Inslee issued a moratorium on executions, saying he "was not convinced equal justice is being served."

4 years later, the state Supreme Court struck down the state's death penalty law, saying it was "imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased manner."

Still, the law has remained on the books, with several efforts to remove it for good fizzling out in the Legislature in recent years.

The death penalty repeal is part of a broader measure to purge statutes that have been ruled unconstitutional, yet never officially eliminated.

Opponents of the bill said they wanted to see the state enact a constitutional version of the death penalty, a possibility the state Supreme Court left open in its 2018 ruling.

Some argued that if the death penalty is eliminated, prosecutors will lose what little leverage they have to get murder suspects to cooperate with police.

State Rep. Jenny Graham (R-Spokane), whose sister was a victim of Green River Killer Gary Ridgway, said Friday that if Ridgway hadn't been afraid of dying, police would not have learned the location of many of his victims' remains and "those families would not have justice."

To become law, the bill must clear Inslee's desk. But a veto looks unlikely.

Inslee spokesperson Jaime Smith said although the governor's office has yet to fully review the final version of Pedersen's bill, "the governor's long record of opposing the death penalty has been clear."

Source: axios.com, Staff, April 14, 2023

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted."


— Oscar Wilde

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