Sunday, 20 October, 2019

California governor places moratorium on executions

California Gov. Gavin Newsom Enlarge Image California Gov. Gavin Newsom AP
Patty Aguilar | 13 March, 2019, 12:29

"Governor Newsom, who supported the failed initiative to end the death penalty in 2006, is usurping the express will of California voters and substituting his personal preferences via this hasty and ill-considered moratorium on the death penalty", she said.

"The death penalty is inconsistent with our bedrock values and strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a Californian", Newsom will say, according to prepared remarks. Levine's district includes San Quentin State Prison, which houses California's death row and execution chamber.

There are now 737 people on death row in California, making it the state with the largest death row population in the USA -one in four people sentenced to the death penalty in the country are sentenced in California.

This Sept. 21, 2010, file photo shows the interior of the lethal injection facility at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to sign a moratorium on the death penalty.

It does not provide for the release of any death row inmates from prison.

There are now 737 people on death row in California - more than in any other state, the governor's office said. They also said five death-row inmates were eventually exonerated since 1973.

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Brown also opposed the death penalty, but his administration moved to restart executions after voters acted in 2016 to allow the use of a single lethal injection and speed up appeals.

"You can't make this up Anderson", Newsom said with a laugh. California's last execution was in 2006, under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"But most of all, the death penalty is absolute". His administration argues that capital punishment has been a failure, pointing at pervasive inequality running through the United States criminal justice system, the significant number of innocent people who have been wrongfully convicted, and evidence that the costly system doesn't increase safety.

With Newsom's move, California joins Colorado, Pennsylvania and OR as the fourth state to place a moratorium on the death penalty, though the length and reasoning for the moratoriums vary from state to state. In 2016, as they narrowly rejected Proposition 62, voters narrowly passed a competing measure, Proposition 66, to expedite executions by shortening the appeals process.

His office said more than six in 10 condemned California inmates are minorities, citing racial disparities in who is sentenced to die. Jerry Brown over their opposition to the death penalty. "And as governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual".

The governor's decision brings California in line with Colorado, Oregon, and Pennsylvania - all of which have governor-issued moratoria - and adds momentum to a national movement working to end capital punishment. Richard Allen Davis was later sentenced to death for kidnapping, raping and murdering her. While campaigning for a measure to repeal the death penalty in 2016, he told The Modesto Bee editorial board he would "be accountable to the will of the voters", if he were elected governor. California has executed 13 inmates, while two were executed in other states.

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