Newsom Suspends California Death Penalty; 737 Inmates Get Stay of Execution

Gov. Gavin Newsom made a big announcement Wednesday, granting a temporary reprieve for the 737 inmates currently on California's death row.

The moratorium on capital punishment is symbolic because of all the legal challenges stalling executions in the state, the last one being in 2006.

Gov. Newsom has often spoke about his distaste for capital punishment, citing its high cost, "racial disparities in its application and wrongful convictions," and questions whether society has the right to take a life.

“I know people think eye for eye, but if you rape, we don’t rape,” he said. “And I think if someone kills, we don’t kill. We’re better than that.” He continued, “I cannot sign off on executing hundreds and hundreds of human beings, knowing — knowing — that among them will be innocent human beings.”

An executive order Newsom signed on Wednesday does three things: grants reprieves to the inmates currently on death row — they will still be under a death sentence, but not at risk of execution; closes the execution chamber at San Quentin prison; and withdraws the state’s lethal injection protocol, the formally approved procedure for carrying out executions.

“Three out of four nations in the world know better and are doing better,” Mr. Newsom said. “They’ve abolished the death penalty. It’s time California join those ranks.”

Read more at the Los Angeles Times.

Photo: Getty Images

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