Published: Wed, March 13, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

California governor will halt all executions in state

California governor will halt all executions in state

"But most of all, the death penalty is absolute".

California has not put an inmate to death since 2006, amid legal challenges to its execution protocols and discomfort with the sentence among political leaders. The order will not alter any current conviction or sentence, or lead to the release of any prisoner now on death row.

Mr Newsom is a Democrat who took office in January and a long-standing opponent of the death penalty, which was last carried out in California in 2006. "Thank you, Gavin Newsom, for eliminating the risk of executing the innocent!"

California Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom speaks after being elected governor of the state during an election night party in Los Angeles, California, U.S. November 6, 2018.

"Reprieves, the governor does have the power to do that". "And as governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual".

"The voters of the State of California support the death penalty". Scott Wiener of San Francisco and assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego, who praised Newsom for doing "what's right, even when it's tough", in Gonzalez's words. A governor needs approval from the state Supreme Court to pardon or commute the sentence of anyone twice convicted of a felony, and the justices previous year blocked several clemency requests by former Gov. Jerry Brown over their opposition to the death penalty.

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. Republican Illinois Gov. George Ryan was the first to do so in 2000, though Illinois has since abolished the death penalty. IL ultimately outlawed executions, as did Washington.

A US Government Accountability Office study published in 1990 found a vastly increased likelihood of a death sentence when the defendant was a person of color and the victim was white.

More than six in 10 condemned California inmates are minorities, which his office cited as proof of racial disparities in who is sentenced to die.

Mike Semanchik, managing attorney for the California Innocence Project - which works to exonerate inmates on death row - cheered the move.

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

Scott Peterson is escorted by two San Mateo County Sheriff deputies to a waiting van in Redwood City, Calif., in 2005.

"There is a lot of literature and studies out there that show that the death penalty is a deeply broken system for a lot of different reasons", the American Civil Liberties Union staff attorney Shilpi Agarwal said. "I was grateful to him", Newsom said. A repeal would require a popular vote in favour of the change. And he's shuttering the execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison that has never been used. It lost by 7 points while the other question was approved by 2 points. Another 26 committed suicide.

California has not executed anyone in more than a decade because of legal challenges to the state's execution protocol.

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