Washington State Supreme Court justices. (Washington Courts)

Washington State Supreme Court justices. (Washington Courts)

Washington justices reject challenges to 3 strikes law

Defendants say the sentence is unconstitutional if one of their crimes was committed as a young adult.

Associated Press

OLYMPIA — Washington’s Supreme Court has unanimously rejected three challenges brought against the state’s three strikes law.

The law requires automatic sentences of life in prison without parole the third time someone is convicted of a “most serious offense.”

The court has repeatedly upheld the law in the past, but in the most recent challenges, defendants said it was unconstitutional to sentence them to life without release when at least one of their crimes was committed when they were young adults — 19 or 20 years old.

The justices said in their ruling Thursday they recognize that science now shows that people’s brains continue to develop into their mid-20s. But, they said, concerns about sentencing young people do not apply to adults who continue to commit serious crimes after their brains have fully developed.

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