Legislative Activity - Washington

  • The Washington Supreme Court has unanimously adopted higher standards for death penalty attorneys after a 2001 Seattle Post-Intelligencer news series revealed that 20% of the defense attorneys who handled capital cases in the state had been, or were later, disbarred, suspended or arrested. The reforms, enacted by the Court under Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, require Washington judges presiding over death penalty cases to appoint defense attorneys who have been screened by a high court committee, or to offer an acceptable excuse for not doing so during a mandatory hearing. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 7, 2002).