California Governor Gavin Newsom will announce a moratorium on executions and a temporary reprieve for all 737 inmates on death row in the U.S. state. "The fact that so many states have abolished the death penalty-but California hasn't-has given people cover for this narrative that people are still supportive the death penalty".
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.
Trump has always been an advocate of the death penalty, even before he entered politics.
He says the man who murdered the detective was deserving of the death penalty and he is concerned for other victims not receiving justice.
Newsom was convinced by statistics suggesting that perhaps dozens of the 737 inmates on the state's death row were innocent.
A court-ordered moratorium on executions has been in place since February 2006, when a federal judge declared that California's lethal injection protocol was unconstitutional.
"The intentional killing of another person is wrong", Newsom said.
And although voters in 2016 narrowly approved a ballot measure to speed up the punishment, no condemned inmate faced imminent execution.
Gavin Newsom plans to sign an executive order placing a moratorium on the practice is also withdrawing the lethal injection regulations that death penalty opponents already have tied up in courts. Thirty-six states have either abolished the death penalty, put executions on hold or not carried out an execution in at least five years.
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"There could very well be a backlash", said State Senator Nancy Skinner, a Democrat from Berkeley who supports Newsom's move.
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.
"Racial bias and unfairness run deep throughout the justice system but especially when it comes to the death penalty", she wrote.
Saying the death penalty is "ineffective, irreversible and immoral", Newsom granted reprieves to all 737 Californians awaiting executions - sparing the lives of a quarter of the country's death row inmates as long as he is governor.
Newsom said he had anticipated that within a month he would have been asked to sign off on a new protocol for administering lethal injections to death row inmates, clearing the way for executions to begin again.
Newsom noted that roughly 60 percent of death row inmates are people of color and many executed over the past year were mentally impaired. That's more than four times the amount of the second-deadliest state, Virginia, where there were 113 executions, or the third-deadliest, which is Oklahoma with 112 executions. Voters rejected ballot measures to end the death penalty in the state in 2012 and 2016.
Newsom reneged on his commitment, said Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale.
Since the last execution in 2006, court battles have been waged over methods by which prisoners can be executed.