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Dozens of judges ask Washington high court to ban execution

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SEATTLE (AP) — Dozens of former Washington judges are urging the state Supreme Court to strike down the death penalty.

Capital punishment is already rarely used in Washington, with just five people executed in the past 35 years. Gov. Jay Inslee has imposed a moratorium on executions during his term in office.

Arguments are scheduled for Thursday morning in the case of Allen Eugene Gregory, who was convicted of killing a 43-year-old cocktail waitress.

The court came within one vote of striking down the death penalty in 2006, and 56 former judges signed a brief urging the court to abolish it this time. They say who gets it is arbitrary, and some of the state’s worst killers, including Green River serial killer Gary Ridgway, avoided capital punishment.

Lawyers for the state have urged the court to stick with their previous decisions upholding the law.