California governor to impose moratorium on executions

Gavin Newsom Trashes Trump's Claim He Called Him 'One Of The Smartest People'

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.

More than 900 people have been sentenced to death in California since 1978 but only 13 have been executed.

California voters have repeatedly rejected abolishing capital punishment but there is a court imposed moratorium on the death penalty.

In a no-holds-barred interview, Governor Gavin Newsom criticized President Donald Trump on a variety of hot-button issues, including the border wall.

But Alison Parker, U.S. managing director at Human Rights Watch, praised Newsom's "great courage and leadership in ending the cruel, costly, and unfair practice of executing prisoners", calling for other states to follow California's lead.

Newsom's reason for the executive order? Just last month, two California prisoners who each had spent over 30 years on death row were freed after appellate courts found significant errors in their trials. 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.

Newsom told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday that he spoke with Trump "because I wanted to extend to him my appreciation" for visiting California in the wake of the fires, and to "express the fact that the people in those communities were grateful to him".

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals viewed historically as little more than a speedbump on condemned inmates road to
An execution chamber in a file

Because of a series of legal challenges to its method of lethal injection, California hasn't executed a prisoner since 2006.

Some supporters of the move pointed out that despite California's status as a blue state, Newsom's decision was a bold one in light of voters' recent support for state-sponsored executions.

"Our death penalty system has been - by any measure - a failure", Newsom plans to say. Twenty-four people now on California's death row were convicted of murder and have exhausted all of their appeals, the Times reported. At least 18 of the 25 people who were executed past 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.

Newsom has always been a vocal opponent of the death penalty, stating the practice discriminates against people of color, mentally ill people and poor people, and that it has put to death those wrongfully convicted of crimes.

Nonetheless, Newsom's action is the latest indication of how California politics have changed around capital punishment.

Not only is prison reform at the top of Kim Kardashian's to-do list, now she's taking aim at California's death penalty.

"I've done what I want to do", Brown said shortly before leaving office, defending his decision not to endorse death penalty repeal efforts in 2012 and 2016.

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