Gov. Gavin Newsom will suspend death penalty in California
01:05, Mar 14, 2019
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"Defying voters, the Governor of California will halt all death penalty executions of 737 stone cold killers". Since the death penalty was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976, the state has executed 13 people.
"The voters of the State of California support the death penalty", said Michele Hanisee, president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys.
California has the largest death row population in the U.S.by far, housing 25 percent of the country's condemned inmates.
"Friends and families of the always forgotten VICTIMS are not thrilled, and neither am I!" he tweeted Wednesday.
The move isn't particularly surprising considering the Democrat's record as an elected official - he was an early proponent of same-sex marriage as mayor of San Francisco - and considering California's politics.
The governor is meant to sign the new order later on Wednesday.
In a statement announcing the executive order released by Newsom's office Tuesday, the Democratic governor argued that executing criminals is "inconsistent with our bedrock values", and he vowed that no prisoner would be put to death while he's in office. California has approximately 740 prisoners on death row, more than twice as many as any other state. "And as governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual", Newsome will say, according to prepared remarks published by Buzzfeed.
Newsom, whose state government is clashing with Trump over environmental regulations, Trump's promised border wall and plans for a bullet train, added he was still committed to working with the Trump White House on disaster preparedness.
"The death penalty has been an abject failure". (Who, it's worth mentioning, is the ex-husband of Donald Trump Jr.'s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle.) California hasn't had an execution since 2006, when it executed Clarence Allen.
Among the most notorious inmates is Lonnie David Franklin Jr, also known as the "Grim Sleeper", who was sentenced to death for 10 murders between 1985 and 2007.
"Symbolically it is very significant", Robert Dunham, the executive director of the not-for-profit Death Penalty Information Center, told the Guardian. It has discriminated against defendants who are mentally ill, black and brown, or can't afford expensive legal representation.
"Racial bias and unfairness run deep throughout the justice system but especially when it comes to the death penalty", she wrote.
But Newsom's action will anger death penalty proponents.
Executions have increasingly been the domain of red states, thanks largely to Texas's dominance in capital punishment. Since the 1970s, 79 death row inmates have died of natural causes in the state and 26 by suicide.
"I've done what I want to do", Brown said shortly before leaving office, defending his decision not to endorse death penalty repeal efforts in 2012 and 2016.
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