California governor to put moratorium on death penalty

California Gov. Gavin Newsom

Gavin Newsom after Newsom ordered all executions in the state paused until further notice. "And as governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual", he will say.

How did we get here?

California voters rejected a repeal of the death penalty as recently as 2016, in the same election where Hillary Clinton carried the state over Donald Trump by more than 3.4 million votes.

Former Democratic Gov. Brown also opposed the death penalty, but his administration moved to restart executions after voters acted in 2016 to allow the use of a single lethal injection and speed up appeals.

Newsom may feel strongly on this issue, but his decision certainly will appear to as a slap in the face to the victims and their families.

Richard Allen Davis must surely be pleased with California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Why did he do this? "It has discriminated against defendants who are mentally ill, black and brown, or can not afford expensive legal representation".

"I do not believe that a civilized society can claim to be a leader in the world as long as its government continues to sanction the premeditated and discriminatory execution of its people", Newsom said in a statement expected to be delivered on Wednesday.

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This could create a challenge for Newsom, since his executive order would be denying the will of the California people.

There hasn't been an execution in California since 2006, amid a years-long legal battle over the state's drug cocktail.

In his speech on Wednesday, the governor will highlight the racial disparities in sentencing - noting that 6 in 10 prisoners on California's death row are people of color - the cost of enforcing the death penalty and the number of innocent people who have been sentenced to death. California has executed 13 inmates, while two were executed in other states. It's also costly - California has spent $5 billion since 1978 on its death row, he said.

Kim Kardashian is speaking out to voice her support for ending the death penalty.

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.

An armed California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officer stands guard at San Quentin State Prison's death row.

The death penalty is not a new entrant to the political culture wars, but in recent years, the partisan split on the issue has widened.

"Our death penalty system has been - by any measure - a failure", Newsom plans to say in his remarks. At least 18 of the 25 people who were executed previous year had significant evidence of mental illness, intellectually damaging brain injuries or chronic childhood trauma or abuse, according to a Death Penalty Information Center report released in December.

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