Terri Lynn Winchell
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.
Still NO JUSTICE for Terri Lynn.
Michael Angelo Morales
I am a few days late to this story, but at least someone (her brother) is trying to obtain justice for Terri Lynn Winchell.
The killer of a woman brutally murdered more than 30 years ago still sits on death row. The victim’s brother is suing to resume executions in California. The lawsuit seeks to end the legal logjam that has put a hold on executions at San Quentin State Prison for six years. The delays involve questions over the use of lethal injections.
More than 700 inmates sit on California’s death row. Not one has been executed in six years. Former governors Pete Wilson and George Deukmejian are on a team of lawyers seeking to help the families of murdered victims.
“I get sick to my stomach,” said Bradley Winchell, the victim’s brother. “I am asking this court to set it right.”
Bradley Winchell says he’s been waiting more than three decades for closure. His sister Terri was brutally murdered and raped in 1981 in a Lodi vineyard.
Her convicted killer, Michael Morales, sits on San Quentin’s death row and is one of 14 inmates who have exhausted all their appeals.
But just as Morales was about to be executed in 2006, a judge granted a reprieve, allowing Morales’s lawsuit to move forward after he claimed the three-drug lethal injection method was cruel and unusual punishment.
Winchell just filed a lawsuit of his own, saying he’s waited long enough. He wants the state to resume executions by moving to a one-drug process currently used in other states.
“I consider 31 years excessive delay, injury to not only myself but my family,” said Winchell.
California’s death penalty has been criticized for many years. Delays often result in decades passing before an execution is carried out.
“It’s a sad state of affairs when those officials with the duty to execute the law care so little about the rights of victims of crime,” said Kent Scheidegger, Criminal Justice Legal Foundation.
In the meantime, an initiative qualified yesterday and California voters yet again will be asked to vote on whether the death penalty will continue in the state. I, frankly, think that California voters will approve the death penalty – as they have each time.
Here is a video of a news report that tells the story:
This Californian demands justice for Terri Lynn:
Terri Lynn Winchell
The California Department of Corrections needs to speedily change its execution protocol and get on with it.
Michael Morales would then be one of the first to go:
Michael Angelo Morales current photo
Justice for Terri Lynn!
The Death Penalty Archive