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Wash. Sup. Ct. Overturns Bizarre Ruling on the Strength of Evidence

Last February, I noted that "incredibly, a trial judge in Seattle has held that the prosecutor acts improperly in considering the strength of the case for guilt in deciding whether to seek the death penalty...."  I also wrote a follow-up post in May.

Last Thursday, the Washington Supreme Court unanimously reversed:

The King County prosecuting attorney followed the statutory requirements when he considered whether mitigating circumstances merited leniency and when he determined that they did not. The fact that he also considered the strength of the case is inconsequential. Indeed, holistic assessments that take into account various mitigating circumstances, the facts of the case, and the strength of evidence are just the type of individualized determinations we require of our prosecutors. Without a flexible weighing of various factors, prosecutors likely would make standardless decisions that violate equal protection principles. For these reasons, we reverse the trial court and remand this matter with instructions to reinstate the notices of special sentencing proceeding so that the capital prosecutions against McEnroe and Anderson may finally proceed to trial.

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