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Washington Supreme Court rejects Yates petition

  Law Center  -   POSTED: 2013/03/15 16:15

The state Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a post-appeal petition from Spokane serial killer Robert Yates, ruling that none of his claims of trial error merited review or a hearing.

Yates' petition raised 25 grounds for relief, including ineffective assistance of counsel, juror bias and numerous procedural issues.

Yates, 60, in 2000 pleaded guilty to 13 counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder in Spokane County in a deal in which he was sentenced to 408 years in prison instead of death. Two years later he was sentenced to death for two murders in Pierce County in 1997 and 1998. He is on death row at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla.

"Yates has failed to establish any meritorious claims," the Supreme Court ruled Thursday. "We therefore dismiss Yates's personal restraint petition."

The court in 2007 had upheld Yates' death sentence, and the next year he filed a personal restraint petition raising a host of concerns about the Pierce County trial. They included whether his right to a public trial was violated, whether the process of death qualification violated the Washington Constitution, whether there was juror misconduct, whether the state made improper arguments about his future dangerousness, and whether the state's death penalty was arbitrary and unconstitutional, among other issues.

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