Gov. Gavin Newsom will suspend death penalty in California

14 March, 2019, 01:03 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Gavin Newsom Trashes Trump's Claim He Called Him 'One Of The Smartest People'

The president of the United States and the governor of California engaged in a game of "he said, he said" recently over whether Gavin Newsom's praise of Donald Trump included privately calling him "one of the smartest people I've ever met".

There are now 24 inmates on death row who have run out of appeals to their sentence. "I can not sign off on executing hundreds and hundreds of human beings knowing that among them there will be innocent people".

However, in 2012 and again in 2016, Californian voters rejected ballot measures aimed at abolishing the death penalty. Richard Allen Davis was later sentenced to death for kidnapping, raping and murdering her.

While the governor's move is certain to be challenged in court, aides say his power to grant reprieves is written into the state constitution and that he is not altering any convictions or allowing any condemned inmate a chance at an early release.

California has the largest death row population in the U.S.by far, housing 25 percent of the country's condemned inmates.

Kent Scheidegger, the legal director of the pro-death penalty Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, said Newsom's order is an abuse of power.

"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", Michele Hanisee, the president of The Association of Deputy District Attorneys, said in a statement.


The president has always been irked by the Democratic leadership in California, including the newly elected governor Gavin Newsom.

In 1986, voters essentially recalled California Chief Justice Rose Bird and two other associate Supreme Court justices appointed by former Gov. What might have seemed avant-garde decades ago, isn't anymore: The governors of Colorado, Oregon and Washington state have issued moratoriums on executions in recent years. Republican Illinois Gov. George Ryan was the first to do so in 2000, though Illinois has since abolished the death penalty.

"A study was done a number of years ago in Georgia, which showed that there was a very strong correlation between the race of the victim and discrimination, so that if you were black and your victim was white, you had up to 11 times greater chance of receiving death penalty than the other way around", said Finkelstein.

Newsom's executive order is set to regulate executions until he leaves office.

Nonetheless, Newsom's action is the latest indication of how California politics have changed around capital punishment. Three were in Virginia, the only state that didn't support Trump in 2016 where executions have occurred since then. And he's shuttering the execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison that has never been used.

Executions have increasingly been the domain of red states, thanks largely to Texas's dominance in capital punishment.

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