Moratorium State

A total of 110 executions have been carried out in Washington and its predecessor territories since 1849. All but three were by hanging. Washington abolished the death penalty in 1913, but reinstated it in 1919. The statute remained unchanged until 1975, when it was again abolished. A referendum the same year reinstated it for a second time. Subsequent U.S. Supreme Court rulings invalidated laws that mandated death sentences and the statute was modified to give detailed procedures for imposing the death penalty. This new law was itself found unconstitutional, and the current law was passed in 1981 to correct these constitutional defects.

Since 1981, five executions have occurred in Washington. There are currently 9 persons on the state’s death row. Death row inmates are able to choose if their execution will be carried out by lethal injection or hanging. If the inmate makes no decision, the default method is lethal injection. Washington also remains the only state with an active gallows. 


For more information and ways to get involved, contact your state's organizations:

Washington State Catholic Conference

The Washington State Catholic Conference (WSCC) represents the Catholic bishops of Washington on issues of public policy. Three dioceses, the Archdiocese of Seattle, the Diocese of Spokane and the Diocese of Yakima, are located in Washington and constitute the WSCC.

Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

The Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty is a grassroots, volunteer-driven, statewide, nonprofit organization dedicated to the abolition of the death penalty.


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