California governor will halt all executions in state

Minnie Murray
March 13, 2019

"The death penalty is inconsistent with our bedrock values and strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a Californian".

"The intentional killing of another person is wrong", Newsom said.

According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) death row list, 737 inmates are being granting temporary reprieves through this executive order, which is the largest in the nation.

With Newsom's move, California joins Colorado, Pennsylvania and OR as the fourth state to place a moratorium on the death penalty, though the length and reasoning for the moratoriums vary from state to state.

His move will also withdraw California's lethal injection protocol and close down the state's execution chamber at San Quentin prison.

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.

President Donald Trump claimed during a speech last week that California Gov. Gavin Newsom called him "one of the smartest people I've ever met", which the Democrat denied during a CNN interview last night. Newsom said he anxious that the executions of more than 20 inmates who have exhausted their appeals would be resumed. Just last month, two California prisoners who each had spent over 30 years on death row were freed after appellate courts found significant errors in their trials.


Newsom's office told The Associated Press he will issue an executive order Wednesday granting a reprieve to every condemned inmate.

The last execution in California was when the state put Clarence Ray Allen, 76, to death on January 17, 2006. 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.

The moratorium will be in place for the duration of Newsom's time in office, the governor's office said.

The Association of Deputy District Attorneys blasted Newsom for "usurping" the will of the voters and "substituting his personal preferences".

Brown said he was satisfied with his record number of pardons and commutations, though he never attempted to commute a death sentence, and with his sweeping changes that eased criminal penalties while reducing the prison population. He also said that many innocent people have been wrongly convicted and sometimes put to death.

"The moral leadership the governor is showing puts us in line with other countries and other states in terms of abolishing the death penalty", she said.

The governor's decision brings California in line with Colorado, Oregon, and Pennsylvania - all of which have governor-issued moratoria - and adds momentum to a national movement working to end capital punishment.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER