Calif. Gov. Newsom Signs Executive Order to Temporarily Ban Death Penalty

‘The death penalty is absolute, irreversible and irreparable in the event of human error…’

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Gavin Newsom/Photo by bkusler (CC)

(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) California Gov. Gavin Newsom planned to sign an executive order Wednesday halting the state’s use of the death penalty, and giving an instant reprieve to the 737 criminals there on death row.

“The intentional killing of another person is wrong, and as governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual,” Newsom said.

The order won’t alter any current convictions or sentences, but it will force state prisons to close their execution chambers until further notice. The Democratic governor said the death penalty is “inconsistent with our bedrock values and strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a Californian.”

“Our death penalty system has been—by any measure—a failure,” Newsom said on Wednesday. “It has discriminated against defendants who are mentally ill, black and brown, or cannot afford expensive legal representation. It has provided no public safety benefit or value as a deterrent. It has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars. But most of all, the death penalty is absolute, irreversible and irreparable in the event of human error.”

Newsom’s temporary order likely won’t last long, though, because a federal judge is currently reviewing the latest execution protocol passed by the state legislature, which approves executions in the state. Newsom said he believes the judge will approve the protocol, clearing the way for the death penalty once again.

Newsom argued that because six in 10 death row inmates are minorities, the execution system is discriminatory and unfair.

President Donald Trump blasted the executive order on Twitter Wednesday, saying Newsom defied voters and the state legislature, and that it ignored victims’ rights to obtain justice.