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California governor to sign executive order stopping state's death penalty for now

13 March 2019

Newsom is a Democrat who took office in January and is a long-standing opponent of the death penalty, which was last carried out in California in 2006.

"And as governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual".

Newsom's order suspends the death penalty in the state, shuts down the death chamber at San Quentin, and ends the state's efforts to come up with procedures for lethal injections without risk of botched or painful executions.

In a bold stroke meant to keep California at the cutting edge of criminal justice, Gov. Gavin Newsom will sign an executive order Wednesday placing a moratorium on the death penalty in the Golden State. No death row inmates will be released, said the source, who declined to be identified.

In recent years, other states have abolished the death penalty and several other governors have placed moratoriums on executions. California has spent $5 billion since 1978 on its death row, he said.

Since 1973, a total of 164 prisoners nationally - including five from California - have been freed after they were wrongfully convicted, according to "The Innocence List" maintained by The Death Penalty Information Center.

Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, which has been fighting in court to force the state to resume executions, said blocking Newsom's move may be hard.

"But most of all, the death penalty is absolute".

"Conservative estimates suggest 4 percent of people on death row are innocent".

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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.

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.

California hasn't executed anyone since 2006, when Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor.

Sellitto said she received a phone call Tuesday night from the Department of Corrections Office of Victims Survivors Rights and Services giving her a heads-up about the governor's announcement and providing her with a contact in his office if she wished to speak to anyone further about his decision.

The governors of Pennsylvania, Washington and OR have imposed moratoriums on executions, and the former Colorado governor refused to execute someone on death row.

With Newsom's move, California joins Colorado, Pennsylvania and OR as the fourth state to place a moratorium on the death penalty, though the length and reasoning for the moratoriums vary from state to state. Jerry Brown that did not involve condemned inmates.

California is the sixth state where a governor has enacted a moratorium. He said he's campaigned "vigorously" for the last two ballot measures where voters rejected repealing the death penalty. But prisoners convicted of murder continue to be sentenced to death in local courtrooms.

California has not executed anyone in more than a decade because of legal challenges to the state's execution protocol.

California governor to sign executive order stopping state's death penalty for now