The Case That Struck Down the Death Penalty

Cover of May 2019 NWLawyer

Allen Gregory was going to be put to death for aggravated murder—yet more than 20 years after the crime, Gregory’s appeal to the Washington Supreme Court resulted in an unprecedented court-ordered analysis of death penalty cases and, ultimately, the end of capital punishment in the state.

The new issue of NWLawyer takes a long look at the death penalty in Washington and how State v. Gregory became the case that struck it down. First, Ken Masters provides a historic view of court decisions that have affected Washington’s imposition of the death penalty, and explains where Gregory fits into that timeline and why it’s different.

The issue also has reflections from the major players involved in the case, from Pierce County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John Neeb who tried Gregory’s case twice and handled the appeal for the prosecution, to the defense team—Washington Appellate Project Appellate Public Defender Lila Silverstein, Criminal Defense Attorney Neil Fox, and ACLU Trone Center for Justice and Equality Deputy Legal Director Jeff Robinson—which successfully argued that Washington has applied the death penalty in a racially biased and arbitrary manner.

In the new issue you’ll also find an examination of white-collar crime and all the slippery legal questions that brings to the law; an overview of the inescapable biases inherent to people, even in a courtroom, and how to address it; and arguments in favor of embracing the singular “they” in writing—yes, even in legal writing.