Bruce Gilbert


This Comment attempts to achieve several objectives. Part II discusses the reasons that the death penalty was found to be unconstitutional in Furman v. Georgia. Part III reviews several post-Furman Supreme Court cases and the revised death penalty statutes that were deemed to satisfy the procedural inadequacies found in pre-Furman death sentence statutes. This Part also discusses the role proportionality review plays in making a death penalty statute constitutional. Part IV examines the development of comparative proportionality review in the State of Washington. State v. Benn will serve as the focus of this discussion. Part V demonstrates that Washington's application of comparative proportionality review is seriously flawed in several respects. These flaws include both the procedural means that the court has used to choose similar cases, and substantive concerns that the court has never clearly defined the purpose of comparative proportionality review. Finally, Part VI of this Comment will advocate a more suitable method for applying comparative proportionality review, paying special attention to the reasoning of the Furman court and the flaws that caused the 1972 U.S. Supreme Court to find several states' death penalty statutes unconstitutional.