Gov. Gavin Newsom to stop death penalty in California

“Gov. Gavin Newsom is putting a moratorium on the death penalty in California, sparing the lives of more than 700 death-row inmates,” as the Sacramento Bee is reporting.

“Newsom plans to sign an executive order Wednesday morning granting reprieves to all 737 Californians awaiting executions – a quarter of the country’s death row inmates.

“His action comes three years after California voters rejected an initiative to end the death penalty, instead passing a measure to speed up executions.

“Newsom says the death penalty system has discriminated against mentally ill defendants and people of color. It has not made the state safer and has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars, according to prepared remarks Newsom plans to deliver Wednesday morning when he signs the order.”

“California is one of 31 states with capital punishment. In recent years, other states have abolished the death penalty and several other governors have placed moratoriums on executions. The California Constitution gives the governor power to grant reprieves to inmates, providing he reports his reasoning to the Legislature.”

The rest of the article is here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

2 thoughts on “Gov. Gavin Newsom to stop death penalty in California”

  1. In this mornings Union, the old white folks Editorial Board disses Gov. Newsom for ending the death penalty in California. He is just one of the many Governors around the country who, when faced with the duty of whether someone should be executed, are the last ones the executioner calls. “Hi Governor— just let me know when to put the poison into their veins and watch them die.” – Screw them and the ancient horse they rode in on–
    Numerous Governors around the country have ended this form of punishment. Newsom is just one more Governor who won’t kill prisoners. Good on him-

    January 2003 – Before leaving office, Governor Ryan grants clemency to all the remaining 167 inmates on Illinois’s death row, due to the flawed process that led to the death sentences.
    June 12, 2006 – The Supreme Court rules that death row inmates can challenge the use of lethal injection as a method of execution.
    December 17, 2007 – New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine signs legislation abolishing the death penalty in the state. The death sentences of eight men are commuted to sentences of life without parole.
    April 16, 2008 – In a 7-2 ruling, the US Supreme Court upholds use of lethal injection. Between September 2007, when the Court took on the case, and April 2008, no one was executed in the US due to the de facto moratorium the Court placed on executions while it heard arguments in Baze v. Rees.
    March 18, 2009 – Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico signs legislation repealing the death penalty in his state. His actions will not affect two prisoners currently on death row: Robert Fry, who killed a woman in 2000, and Tim Allen, who killed a 17-year-old girl in 1994.
    November 13, 2009 – Ohio becomes the first state to switch to a method of lethal injection using a single drug, rather than the three-drug method used by other states.
    March 9, 2011 – Illinois Governor Pat Quinn announces that he has signed legislation eliminating the death penalty in his state, more than 10 years after the state halted executions.
    March 16, 2011 – The Drug Enforcement Agency seizes Georgia’s supply of thiopental, over questions of where the state obtained the drug. US manufacturer Hospira stopped producing the drug in 2009. The countries that still produce the drug do not allow it to be exported to the US for use in lethal injections.
    May 20, 2011 – The Georgia Department of Corrections announces that pentobarbital will be substituted for thiopental in the three-drug lethal injection process.
    July 1, 2011 – Lundbeck Inc., the company that makes pentobarbital (brand name Nembutal), announces it will restrict the use of its product from prisons carrying out capital punishment.
    November 22, 2011 – Governor John Kitzhaber of Oregon places a moratorium on all state executions for the remainder of his term in office.
    April 25, 2012 – Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signs S.B. 280, An Act Revising the Penalty for Capital Felonies, into law. The law goes into effect immediately and replaces the death penalty with life without the possibility of parole. The law is not retroactive to those already on death row.
    May 2, 2013 – Maryland’s governor signs a bill repealing the death penalty. The law goes into effect October 1.
    January 16, 2014 – Ohio executes inmate Dennis McGuire with a new combination of drugs, due to the unavailability of drugs such as pentobarbital. The state uses a combination of the drugs midazolam and hydromorphone, according to the state corrections department. The execution process takes 24 minutes, and McGuire appears to be gasping for air for 10 to 13 minutes, according to witness Alan Johnson, a reporter with the Columbus Dispatch. In May 2014, an Ohio judge issues an order suspending executions in the state so that authorities can further study new lethal injection protocols. In 2015, Ohio announces that it is reincorporating thiopental sodium, a drug which it used in executions from 1999-2011.
    February 11, 2014 – Washington Governor Jay Inslee announces that he is issuing a moratorium on death penalty cases during his term in office.
    September 4, 2014 – The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety issues a report about the botched execution of Clayton Lockett on April 29, 2014. Complications with the placement of an IV into Lockett played a significant role in problems with his execution, according to the report. It took 43 minutes for him to die.
    December 31, 2014 – Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley commutes the death sentences of the four last men in the state scheduled for execution. It is one of his final acts in office.
    January 23, 2015 – The Supreme Court agrees to hear a case concerning the lethal injection protocol in Oklahoma. The inmates claim that the state protocol violates the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. In a June 29, 2015, ruling, the court upholds Oklahoma’s use of the drug midazolam in its lethal injection procedure by a 5-4 vote.
    February 13, 2015 – Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf halts all executions in his state until a task force examining capital punishment in Pennsylvania issues its final report, citing the state’s “error prone” justice system and “inherent biases” among his reasons for the moratorium. Later, Wolf’s action is upheld in court after Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams files a petition claiming the moratorium is an unconstitutional takeover of powers. The moratorium remains in effect after the report is published June 2018.
    March 23, 2015 – Utah Governor Gary Herbert signs legislation making the firing squad an authorized method of death if the drugs required for lethal injection are unavailable. The firing squad was last used in 2010 to execute a convicted murderer, Ronnie Lee Gardner.
    June 29, 2015 – The Supreme Court rules, in a 5-4 decision, that the use of the sedative midazolam in lethal injections is not a violation of the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Midazolam is one of three drugs that are combined to carry out the death penalty in Oklahoma.
    August 2, 2016 – The Delaware Supreme Court rules the state’s death penalty law unconstitutional. Attorney General Matt Denn later announces that he will not appeal the decision.
    November 8, 2016 – Voters in California, Nebraska and Oklahoma are asked to weigh in on the death penalty with referendum questions on ballots. In all three states, majorities vote in favor of the death penalty.
    April 2017 – Of the eight prisoners Arkansas had planned to execute before the state’s supply of a lethal injection drug expires, four are put to death: Ledell Lee, Jack Jones, Marcel Williams and Kenneth Williams. The other four – Jason McGehee, was later granted clemency and Stacey Johnson, Don Davis and Bruce Ward – receive stays of execution that were later lifted.
    April 20, 2017 – The FDA rules that imported vials of the execution drug sodium thiopental, ordered by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the Arizona Department of Corrections, must be destroyed or exported within 90 days. The FDA had seized the shipment in 2015. Sodium thiopental is not approved in the United States.
    April 25, 2017 – The Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission releases a report recommending the continuation of the moratorium on the death penalty, citing the need for significant reforms.
    January 25, 2019 – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine delays execution of Warren Henness pending an official assessment of the state’s execution system. This is in response to a January 14 federal court decision regarding the severity of its three-drug protocol. DeWine later announces that the state will have no executions until a method that will stand up to legal scrutiny is established.
    March 13, 2019 – Governor Gavin Newsom signs an executive order placing a moratorium on the death penalty in California.
    We’ll teach ya not to kill by killin ya- Hasn’t seemed to be a deterrent—- ever.

  2. Thanks Chip!

    Here’s a “nut graf” (a journalism term) from a recent New Yorker article that sums it up well: “In truth, the boldness of Newsom’s reprieve may be a little overstated. California as a whole has voted against repealing the death penalty, most recently in 2016, when it favored a ballot measure to expedite the process, yet voting patterns show that metropolitan Californians, the core of the state’s blue electorate, decisively oppose it. Meanwhile, in the past two decades, support for capital punishment in murder convictions has collapsed nationwide, especially among Democrats, in line with broader trends. The Pope forbade the practice categorically last year. The European Union won’t admit death-penalty states—opposition was the first human-rights standard that its council adopted—and it prohibits the trade with other nations of goods involved in capital punishment. (The list includes guillotines, whips, “shields with metal spikes,” and, more problematically for the United States, lethal-injection drugs.)” https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/gavin-newsom-and-the-new-politics-of-the-death-penalty

    As for The Union, it still can’t shake its rigid political past from the conservative Ingram/Moorhead era in the ’60s/’70s (https://www.theunion.com/news/local-news/the-union-publishers-through-the-years-3/), even though — in 2019 — the world is changing all around it. That is not a growth strategy, either for the paper or the community that it purports to represent as the “leading media voice.” To be sure, The Union is living in the past.

    As for Newsom, it was a bold move, just like when he allowed same-sex marriages to go forward in 2004. He made a name for himself, but he also was out in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/02/11/gavin-newsom-san-francisco-same-sex-marriage-licenses/

    I notice Todd Juvinall having a cow on TheUnion.com comments, calling Newsom “a disgrace.” He also is stuck in the ’50s.

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