Published: Thu, March 14, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

California governor to block more than 700 executions with executive order

California governor to block more than 700 executions with executive order

California governor Gavin Newsom will sign an executive order placing a moratorium on the state's use of the death penalty on Wednesday morning, according to the governor's office.

Newsom's order suspends the death penalty in the state, shuts down the death chamber at San Quentin, and ends the state's efforts to come up with procedures for lethal injections without risk of botched or painful executions.

California's governor is set to issue a moratorium on capital punishment in the US's most populous state, providing a reprieve for hundreds of inmates sentenced to death.

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". "It has provided no public safety benefit or value as a deterrent".

Among the most notorious inmates is Lonnie David Franklin Jr, also known as the "Grim Sleeper", who was sentenced to death for 10 murders between 1985 and 2007.

California has the most death row inmates in the US, according to Politico.

The California moratorium will become the fourth in the nation, following similar ones issued under Democratic governors in Oregon, Colorado, and California.

His administration's regulations are stalled by challenges in both state and federal court, but those lawsuits may be halted now that Newsom is officially withdrawing the regulations.

An armed California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officer is seen reflected in the window of a cell at San Quentin State Prison's death row adjustment center
California governor to place moratorium on death penalty

"He's following in the footsteps of other governors who abused this power because they were frustrated by a law that they just personally disagreed with", Scheidegger said.

A California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officer opens the door to San Quentin State Prison's death row on August 15, 2016 in San Quentin, California. "But most of all, the death penalty is absolute, irreversible and irreparable in the event of human error".

His order also points to the 164 people who have been freed from death row after they were found to be wrongfully convicted.

The move appears contrary to the wishes of Californian voters who not only rejected to abolish the death penalty twice in 2012 and 2016 but voted for Proposition 66 at the most recent trip to the ballot that would hasten the process from conviction to execution, the New York Times reported. Republican Illinois Gov. George Ryan was the first to do so in 2000, though Illinois has since abolished the death penalty.

Kim Kardashian is speaking out to voice her support for ending the death penalty.

"Our death penalty system has been - by any measure - a failure", Newsom states in prepared remarks he is expected to deliver on Wednesday. Four years later San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, an ardent opponent of capital punishment, was narrowly elected as state attorney general.

Brown said he was satisfied with his record number of pardons and commutations, though he never attempted to commute a death sentence, and with his sweeping changes that eased criminal penalties while reducing the prison population.

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