California governor to halt executions, temporary reprieve for inmates


Newsom announced death penalty executions in California would be halted under his administration and during his time in office.

Since California's last execution, its death row population has grown to house one of every four condemned inmates in the US.

Critics of the moratorium say Newsom's executive order ignores the will of the people since California voters in 2016 rejected a state ballot initiative to abolish the death penalty. And he's shuttering the execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison that has never been used.

United States media report he plans to sign an executive order later on Wednesday, describing the death penalty as "inconsistent with our bedrock values". Twenty-five people on California's death row have exhausted all of their appeals. "Gov. usurping the express will of California voters". It comes as some 20 men now on the state's death row have finally exhausted their opportunities for appeal, which is what prompted Newsom to act.

Another key point of Newsom's argument is the wrongful conviction and subsequent overturning of inmates on death row. Because the state hasn't executed anyone since 2006 due to legal challenges, Newsom's order is largely viewed as symbolic.

In 2015, a federal district court judge ruled that an excessive delay in Jones' execution violated the Eighth Amendment barring cruel and unusual punishment, declaring California's death penalty unconstitutional.

The governor is expected to outline the long history of discrimination within the criminal justice system, making mentally ill, black, brown, and poor convicts more likely to face the death penalty. Since the death penalty was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976, the state has executed 13 people.

That was the claim Trump made in his hours-long speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual gathering of conservative movers and shakers.

He's also withdrawing the lethal injection regulations that death penalty opponents have already tied up in court. It will not end the death penalty in the state, but will suspend it for the duration of Newsom's term. Human Rights Watch believes these rights can not be reconciled with the death penalty, a form of punishment unique in its cruelty and finality. Trump tweeted on Wednesday.

Three inmates convicted of San Luis Obispo County murders are now on death row: Michael Whisenhunt, Richard Benson and Rex Krebs.

They were replaced by Brown's successor, Republican tough-on-crime Gov. George Deukmejian, a former attorney general who oversaw a vast expansion of California's prison system before he left the governor's office in 1991. He said having a governor campaign against the death penalty could make the difference in convincing voters to repeal it. It doesn't free anyone on death row.

Newson, in his prepared remarks, dubbed California's death penalty an immoral "failure" that has provided no public safety benefit while costing the state's taxpayers billions of dollars.