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Trump blasts California governor for halting executions

13 March, 2019, 15:44 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom

In a bold stroke meant to keep California at the cutting edge of criminal justice, Gov. Gavin Newsom will sign an executive order Wednesday placing a moratorium on the death penalty in the Golden State.

"I do not believe that a civilized society can claim to be a leader in the world as long as its government continues to sanction the premeditated and discriminatory execution of its people", he said in a statement issued with the executive order. His administration argues that capital punishment has been a failure, pointing at pervasive inequality running through the U.S. criminal justice system, the significant number of innocent people who have been wrongfully convicted, and evidence that the costly system doesn't increase safety.

California last executed someone in 2006, when Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor.

No death row inmates will be released.

Voters have narrowly supported the death penalty, most recently in 2016 when they voted to speed up the process. Since 1973, five California inmates who were sentenced to death were later exonerated, his office said. Newsom's decision was readily criticized by the president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, Michele Hanisee, The Sacramento Bee reported.

"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.

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The California State Supreme Court initially outlawed the deal penalty in People v. Anderson in 1972.

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.

"Symbolically it is very significant", Robert Dunham, the executive director of the not-for-profit Death Penalty Information Center, told the Guardian. Butin order to have lasting impact, the reprieve should be used to find a more permanent solution, Durham says. His administration's regulations are stalled by challenges in both state and federal court, though those lawsuits may be halted now that Newsom is officially withdrawing them.

Newsom's office said he can act unilaterally because he's enacting a moratorium, not changing anyone's sentence. Death row inmates are also much more likely to have a mental illness, brain damage or brain injury, or to be intellectually disabled. I said this publicly, not just privately...

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have already abolished capital punishment. Another 26 committed suicide. However, the death penalty has disproportionately affected people of color and the mentally ill.

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.

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