Death Row Inmates to Receive Instant Reprieve Under Gov. Newsom’s Executive Order

California Gov. Gavin Newsom

Enlarge Image California Gov. Gavin Newsom AP

Gavin Newsom is expected to sign an executive order on the death penalty on Wednesday morning. "And as governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual", Newsome will say, according to prepared remarks published by Buzzfeed.

How did we get here?

Newsom "is usurping the express will of California voters and substituting his personal preferences via this hasty and ill-considered moratorium on the death penalty", said Michele Hanisee, president of the Association of Deputy (Los Angeles County) District Attorneys.

The 737 inmates on the largest death row in the United States will not be executed after the Governor of California said the sentence was "wrong" and "a failure" that has sometimes killed innocent people. And though voters in 2016 narrowly approved a ballot measure to speed up the punishment, no condemned inmate faced imminent execution.

In 1986, voters essentially recalled California Chief Justice Rose Bird and two other associate Supreme Court justices appointed by former Gov.

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Newsom made the unusual decision through an executive order.

"We commend California Governor Gavin Newsom on this common-sense step".

Why did he do this?

This could create a challenge for Newsom, since his executive order would be denying the will of the California people. He has not committed one way or the other about whether he will push another death penalty repeal initiative in 2020.

In the U.S., the death penalty is inevitably plagued with arbitrariness, racial disparities, and error; 164 people, including four from California, have been released from death row since 1973 after being later found innocent. Judge Thomas C. Hastings said sending him to death row was a pleasure.

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Because of a series of legal challenges to its method of lethal injection, California hasn't executed a prisoner since 2006. Newsom said he anxious that the executions of more than 20 inmates who have exhausted their appeals would be resumed.

Trump has always been an advocate of the death penalty, even before he entered politics.

Missing from that list appears to be the families of the victims of those on death row. At least 18 of the 25 people who were executed a year ago 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.

Newsom's action on the death penalty will no doubt place him in the national spotlight.

Newsom, a Democrat, told reporters earlier this month that he "never believed in the death penalty from a moral perspective", also citing ethical and economic concerns.

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The order will not alter any current conviction or sentence, or lead to the release of any prisoner now on death row. Newsom may have a point to at least looking into the state's approach to the death penalty.

"There's a reason why, today, three out of four countries around the world have either abolished the death penalty or no longer use it", Newsom said.

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