Published: Thu, March 14, 2019
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

California governor halts death penalty: 'I couldn't sleep'

California governor halts death penalty: 'I couldn't sleep'

Democratic presidential hopeful Kamala Harris of California is praising Gov. Gavin Newsom after he said he'd sign an executive order halting the death penalty in the state. It will not end the death penalty in the state, but will suspend it for the duration of Newsom's term. In recent years, other states have abolished the death penalty and several other governors have placed moratoriums on executions. Trump tweeted on Wednesday.

California Governor Gavin Newsom gestures to the crowd after taking the oath of office on January 7. A new execution protocol is under review, but Newsom's order will withdraw it.

That was the claim Trump made in his hours-long speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual gathering of conservative movers and shakers.

Eighteen other states and the District of Columbia have abolished the death penalty. It houses about a quarter of all death-row inmates in the nation.

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.

But in the end, the Democratic governor said he made an emotional decision: "I can not sign off on executing hundreds and hundreds of human beings".

And although voters in 2016 narrowly approved a ballot measure to speed up the punishment, no condemned inmate faced imminent execution.

California's death row is crowded with inmates, many of whom have been there for decades.

In signing his executive order, Mr Newsom has also withdrawn regulations on lethal injections that have been put through the courts already by death penalty opponents.

In 1990, Dianne Feinstein ran for governor as a pro-death penalty Democrat, views that were booed at the state Democratic Convention that year.

The move will give a temporary reprieve to the 737 death row inmates in the state while annulling California's lethal injection protocol and closing San Quentin State Prison's execution chamber, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Today, it's hard to find a mainstream Democrat in California who supports the death penalty. California hasn't executed anyone since 2006, under then-Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and inmates are far more likely to die of old age.

"California is a really odd outlier on the death penalty".

But, in the news conference immediately after signing the executive order Wednesday morning, Newsom said that the voters chose to put him in office knowing that he has always been opposed to the death penalty.

Jones argued that because the period of delay is so long and that many death row inmates face the possibility of never getting executed, it's "arbitrary" that only a few prisoners are ever put to death.

"So what everyone needs to realize is that the death penalty is still the law in California", said Santa Clara University professor of law Ellen Kreitzberg.

"I was a young man learning that life story", he said after signing the order.

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