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Death Penalty

Wash. Ruling Limits Capital Factors

Posted Jun 1, 2007 1:30 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A Washington Supreme Court ruling could limit death penalty prosecutions in the state.

Yesterday the court limited the circumstances in which aggravating factors can be applied in murder cases, according to the Seattle Times. Aggravating factors are a requirement for the death penalty.

The court ruled in the case of a minister convicted of killing his wife before setting their house on fire. The court said the arson was not an aggravating factor because it did not occur in the course of the murder.

The Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers says the case is important because aggravated first-degree murder is the only crime in the state that carries the potential for a death sentence.

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