Ending 'Premeditated and Discriminatory' Executions, Gov. Newsom Issues California Death Penalty Moratorium

Ending 'Premeditated and Discriminatory' Executions, Gov. Newsom Issues California Death Penalty Moratorium

Ending 'Premeditated and Discriminatory' Executions, Gov. Newsom Issues California Death Penalty Moratorium

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order today putting a moratorium on the death penalty in California and shuttering the execution chamber at San Quentin, a move that overrides a decision the state's voters made in 2016 to maintain capital punishment.

Newsom, in his prepared remarks, called the death penalty "inconsistent with our bedrock values" and noted that 164 inmates-including five in California-have been released from death row over the past 45 years after being exonerated of their convictions.

President Donald Trump weighed in on Newsom's decision Wednesday morning, presumably after catching the news on Fox & Friends, and said he was "not thrilled" by the decision.

Newsom, a liberal Democrat who was elected in 2018, has always been an opponent of the death penalty, and is thought to be building a national political profile as he eyes a possible future presidential campaign.

"[Newsom] recognizes that California voters have spoken on the issue and, if elected governor, he'd respect the will of the electorate by following and implementing the law", said Dan Newman, a spokesman for Newsom when he was lieutenant governor.

"It's a very emotional place that I stand", Newsom told reporters after signing the order.

Newsom, a Democrat, called the death penalty "a failure" that "has discriminated against defendants who are mentally ill, black and brown, or can't afford expensive legal representation".

Across the country, 18 states and Washington DC have abolished the death penalty and others have issued suspensions. Since 1976, inmates of color have accounted for 43 percent of executions, and 55 percent of people on death row are racial minorities.

Enlarge this image
Enlarge this image

The California governor fired back at the president during an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday.

But in the end, the Democratic governor said he made an emotional decision: "I can not sign off on executing hundreds and hundreds of human beings". "Voters narrowly approved Proposition 66, a measure on the same ballot to streamline death penalty appeals", the Times reported.

Execution chamber at the San Quentin prison.

California has not executed anyone since 2006, when Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor, the Press Association reports.

His action comes three years after California voters rejected an initiative to end the death penalty, instead passing a measure to speed up executions.

California Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday imposed a moratorium on the death penalty as the possibility of the first executions in the state in 13 years loomed, causing him a crisis of conscience. More than three-quarters of Republicans support executions while only about a third of Democrats agree.

Public opinion in California on capital punishment has shifted dramatically in the past few decades, with increasing numbers of people preferring the option of life without the possibility of parole to the death penalty in most cases. A Pew Research Center poll completed past year found that a small majority of Americans support the death penalty but that those views were split by party.

Related news

[an error occurred while processing the directive]