Gov. Gavin Newsom is putting a moratorium on the death penalty in California, sparing the lives of more than 700 death-row inmates.
Newsom plans to sign an executive order Wednesday morning granting reprieves to all 737 Californians awaiting executions – a quarter of the country’s death row inmates.
His action comes three years after California voters rejected an initiative to end the death penalty, instead passing a measure to speed up executions.
Newsom says the death penalty system has discriminated against mentally ill defendants and people of color. It has not made the state safer and has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars, according to prepared remarks Newsom plans to deliver Wednesday morning when he signs the order.
This is a direct affront to the voters of California. Michael Morales should have been executed decades ago.
The lethal injection table at San Quentin Prison, California
Prisoner appeal rights would be dramatically curtailed.
Like other state prisoners, the 725 inmates on California’s Death Row can’t vote. But if they could, there’s evidence that most of them would vote against a November ballot initiative to abolish the death penalty.
It’s not that they want to die, attorney Robert Bryan said. They just want to hang on to the possibility of proving that they’re innocent, or at least that they were wrongly convicted. That would require state funding for lawyers and investigators – funding that Proposition 34 would eliminate for many Death Row inmates after the first round of appeals.
I grow tired with the anti-capital punishment crowd, including state and federal judges who obstruct the enforcement of California law.
I, too, will be voting for California Proposition 34 in November, but it won’t be to preserve inmate appeal rights, but to obtain justice for the many victims of these convicted criminals.