Published: Thu, March 14, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Trump Not 'Thrilled' With California Plan to Halt Executions

Trump Not 'Thrilled' With California Plan to Halt Executions

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.

Trump, of course, infamously called for the teenagers convicted in the Central Park Five jogging case to be executed, buying full page ads in NY newspapers demanding the state to bring back the death penalty.

Age and natural causes seem to have been a more effective death penalty in California: 79 death row habitants have died of natural causes since 1978, another 26 killed themselves.

Newsom is also withdrawing the lethal injection regulations that death penalty opponents already have tied up in courts and shuttering the new execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison that has never been used.

He said he's campaigned "vigorously" for the last two ballot measures where voters rejected repealing the death penalty. "The intentional killing of another person is wrong".

Ultimately, Newsom decided the moratorium was in the best interest of the state, because he believes the death penalty "is inconsistent with our bedrock values and strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a Californian".

Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, which has been fighting in court to force the state to resume executions, said blocking Newsom's move may be hard.

"I would not get my personal opinions in the way of the public's right to make a determination of where they want to take us" on the death penalty, he said. California has approximately 740 prisoners on death row, more than twice as many as any other state.

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Newsom's executive order completely goes against voters' wishes throughout the state. "It has discriminated against defendants who are mentally ill, black and brown, or can not afford expensive legal representation".

California's executions were halted in 2006 when a condemned inmate challenged the state's protocol for lethal injection, ensnaring California in legal challenges that continue today.

Kim Kardashian is speaking out to voice her support for ending the 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", Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the pro-death penalty Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, told the Los Angeles Times.

California is one of 31 states with capital punishment.

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

Earlier this week, Jaime Osuna, a convicted murderer who was spared the death penalty for the gruesome torture and murder in 2011 of Yvette Pena, a mother of six - and who mocked her family in court - was suspected of murdering his cellmate, who was found dead over the weekend.

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