Published: Fri, March 15, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Trump criticises California governor Gavin Newsom for suspending executions

Trump criticises California governor Gavin Newsom for suspending executions

Since California's last execution, its death row population has grown to house one of every four condemned inmates in the US.

The governor argued that the death penalty discriminates against defendants who are poor, mentally ill, African American or Latino.

"The intentional killing of another person is wrong, and as governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual", he plans to say.

While campaigning for the death penalty repeal measure in 2016, Newsom told The Modesto Bee editorial board he would "be accountable to the will of the voters" on the death penalty if he became governor.

The move has been... Since 2014, there have been 134 executions in the United States, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. "I think if someone kills, we don't kill".

Flanked by Democratic party leaders, Newsom said he chose to take the move because of steps by the state toward resuming executions. The reason for the lapse in executions is due to legal challenges against the state's method of lethal injection, the Los Angeles Times reported.

According to the state's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation death row list (pdf), 737 inmates were slated to be executed prior to the executive order.

He said he's considering commuting death sentences as "a next step" once state Supreme Court justices explain why they blocked several non-death commutations sought by former Gov.

Democratic Assemblyman Marc Levine is counting on Newsom to transform voters' long-running support for the death penalty.

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 Governor Gavin Newsom
California Governor Gavin Newsom

The governor signed an executive order that halts executions for the 737 inmates now on death row, closes the never-before-used execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison and withdraws the state's lethal injections protocol.

Newsom said the death penalty isn't a deterrent, wastes taxpayer dollars and is flawed because it is "irreversible and irreparable in the event of human error". He is also not changing any prisoner's conviction, nor is he offering an opportunity for early release to any of the condemned.

Newsom followed the lead of the governors of Colorado, Oregon, and Pennsylvania, who also recently announced moratoriums on capital punishment, as well as Washington State's Supreme Court, which banned the practice a year ago.

He said his views on the death penalty were first shaped 40 years ago when he learned of his grandfather's and father's advocacy for a wrongfully convicted man.

Newsom was convinced by statistics suggesting that perhaps dozens of the 737 inmates on the state's death row were innocent. A jury convicted career criminal Richard Allen Davis and gave him the death penalty. But on Wednesday he said that abstract idea faded as he was personally faced with the possibility of signing death warrants.

"I did this with the victims in mind", Newsom said.

"I'm disgusted by the justice system", said Maria Keever, whose 13-year-old son Charlie Keever was murdered along with his friend Jonathan Seller, 9, in 1993 by death row inmate Scott Erskine.

Some supporters of the move pointed out that despite California's status as a blue state, Newsom's decision was a bold one in light of voters' recent support for state-sponsored executions. The governor, she said, was at the start of an "education process" about how the death penalty is applied in the state.

Newsom said his ultimate goal is to end capital punishment. Morris was sentenced to death in 1983 on charges of robbery and murder in Long Beach.

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