More than 700 death row inmates have been given a temporary reprieve after the Governor of California moved to end the use of capital punishment in the state. He also said the death penalty "has discriminated against defendants who are mentally ill, black or brown, or can't afford expensive legal representation".
While Newsom and many advocates favor ending the death penalty, the California people voted in 2016 to keep it for those convicted for first-degree murder.
Although studies show that an increasing number of Californians favor a sentence of life without parole to the death penalty in most cases, voters in 2012 and 2016 rejected measures to repeal the death penalty.
The move has been... "I think if someone kills, we don't kill".
California has not executed a prisoner since 2006 because of a series of legal challenges to its lethal injection method. "The fact that so many states have abolished the death penalty-but California hasn't-has given people cover for this narrative that people are still supportive the death penalty".
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The death penalty spat was the latest between Newsom and Trump, who recently clashed over California wasting federal money on a high-speed rail project. "My ultimate goal is to end the death penalty in California".
Newsom also is withdrawing the state's lethal injection regulations and shuttering the new execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison that has never been used.
Ellen Kreitzberg, a death penalty expert and opponent at Santa Clara University law school in California, welcomed Mr Newsom's move.
The governor's ban is certain to be challenged in court, but aides say his power to grant reprieves is written into the state constitution and that he is not altering any convictions or allowing any condemned inmate a chance at an early release.
Lawmakers have until June 2020 to put the measure on the fall ballot and will take that time to build support among voters and lawmakers, said Levine spokesman Terry Schanz.
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Just last month, the state Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for David Westerfield, convicted of the 2002 killing of 7-year-old Danielle van Dam.
"As a career law enforcement official, I have opposed the death penalty because it is immoral, discriminatory, ineffective, and a gross misuse of taxpayer dollars", she said in a statement. A jury convicted career criminal Richard Allen Davis and gave him the death penalty.
New governor Gavin Newsom described the death penalty as "unjust" and "inconsistent with our bedrock values".
Newsom was convinced by statistics suggesting that perhaps dozens of the 737 inmates on the state's death row were innocent. "And as governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual", Newsome will say, according to prepared remarks published by Buzzfeed. Three states - Oregon, Colorado and Pennsylvania - have Governor-imposed moratoria on the death penalty and in 2018, the Washington State Supreme Court struck down the death penalty as unconstitutional and "racially biased". "Gov. Newsom is usurping the expressed will of California voters". Yet "an analysis of USA murder data from 1987-2015 found no evidence that the death penalty deters murder or protects police", according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
With 737 inmates on death row, that equates to a possible 30 who are innocent, he said.
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