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

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

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

Since the law does not change as a result of Newsom's order, California remains as one of the 30 states that has the death penalty. In February, the association representing deputy district attorneys in Los Angeles County accused the state's elected officials of foot-dragging on enforcing the death penalty and of substituting their own values for the ratified votes of the majority of California's electorate.

Gov. Gavin Newsom of California has poured cold water on Donald Trump's claim that he called the president "one of the smartest people I've ever met" in a private telephone call.

Republicans condemned the action on Wednesday, saying Newsom's action was an offense to the families of victims of gruesome crimes.

While campaigning for the death penalty repeal measure in 2016, Newsom told The Modesto Bee editorial board he would "be accountable to the will of the voters" on the death penalty if he became governor.

The state joins Colorado, Oregon, and Pennsylvania, which have similar bans, and 20 states that have abolished the death penalty, it said.

California has the most death row inmates in the US, according to Politico.

Human Rights Watch said that, with the governor's decision, California continues a trend in the United States of moving away from putting people to death. "And as governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual".

On Wednesday, Assemblyman Marc Levine proposed giving Californians yet another chance to weigh in: the San Rafael Democrat is introducing a constitutional amendment that would abolish capital punishment if approved by voters in 2020.


Since 1973, five California inmates who were sentenced to death were later exonerated, his office said. His administration's regulations are stalled by challenges in both state and federal court, though those lawsuits may be halted now that Newsom is officially withdrawing the regulations.

With 24 inmates on death row who have exhausted their appeals, Newsom in February said he feared California could potentially execute "more prisoners than any other state in modern history" if no action was taken.

"Symbolically it is very significant", Robert Dunham, the executive director of the not-for-profit Death Penalty Information Center, told the Guardian.

Newsom has recognized the cruelty, the moral and fiscal costs, and the discriminatory nature of death sentencing in the state. More than three-quarters of Republicans support executions while only about a third of Democrats agree. Voters rejected ballot measures to end the death penalty in the state in 2012 and 2016.

California has not put an inmate to death since 2006, amid legal challenges to its execution protocols and discomfort among political leaders.

About a quarter of America's death-row prisoners are in California, the country's most populous state.

Flanked by lawmakers, Gov. Gavin Newsom discusses his decision to place a moratorium on the death penalty during a news conference, March 13, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif.

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