California Gov. Gavin Newsom To Halt Executions

California Gov. Gavin Newsom

Enlarge Image California Gov. Gavin Newsom AP

President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday to weigh in on Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom's Tuesday announcement that he would place a moratorium on all executions in his state. This comes on the heels of Californians actually voting to bolster the speed with which the state can execute an inmate. He cites a 2014 study, which estimated that 1 in 25 people sentenced to death would, hypothetically, be eventually exonerated from their sentence if time allowed evidence to arise. Although Newsom has the constitutional authority to grant reprieves to condemned inmates, he does not have the power to order the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to shutter the death chamber or halt efforts to establish a lethal injection protocol, Scheidegger said.

Trump is more likely signaling his defense of the death penalty to the country broadly than trying specifically to undercut Newsom. "The intentional killing of another person is wrong".

California voters have repeatedly rejected abolishing capital punishment but there is a court imposed moratorium on the death penalty. "And as governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual".

Trump's referral to defying voters was about two different attempts in the past six years to repeal the death penalty in California at the ballot box, both of which failed.

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

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There are now 737 people on death row in California, making it the state with the largest death row population in the US -one in four people sentenced to the death penalty in the country are sentenced in California.

Ellen Kreitzberg, a death penalty expert and opponent at Santa Clara University law school in California, welcomed Newsom's move.

Newsom, who became governor in January of this year, said the death penalty "has discriminated against defendants who are mentally ill, black and brown, or can't afford expensive legal representation". The order would also withdraw lethal injection regulations.

"The voters of the State of California support the death penalty", said Michele Hanisee, president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys.

In some other states that have abolished the death penalty, the move away from capital punishment began with a governor who refused to sign death warrants, she said.

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One of the demented killers Newsom plans on giving the free pass to is Davis, 64, one of the worst of the worst.

"You can't make this up Anderson", Newsom said with a laugh.

Newsom may have a point to at least looking into the state's approach to the death penalty.

"I've never believed in the death penalty from a moral perspective", he said.

"The disparities are very real and raw to me now especially as I spend every week working on the issues of paroles and commutations", he said.

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