Trump Slams California After Governor Suspends Death Penalty

Arturo Kim
March 14, 2019

Anti-death penalty activists applauded California Gov. Gavin Newsom's planned executive order announcing a moratorium on capital punishment in the state on Wednesday. Since the death penalty was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976, the state has executed 13 people.

President Donald Trump weighed in on Newsom's decision Wednesday morning, presumably after catching the news on Fox & Friends, and said he was "not thrilled" by the decision.

US Senator Kamala Harris, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, applauded Newsom's decision.

California Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom speaks after being elected governor of the state during an election night party in Los Angeles, California, U.S. November 6, 2018.

Newsom, a Democrat who was sworn into office earlier this year, acknowledged that while the order is just one step in the right direction, he is optimistic about the law changing to permanently ban the death penalty in the state some day.

Eighteen other states and the District of Columbia have abolished the death penalty.

At age 88, David Carpenter is the oldest current inmate on California's death row, but he didn't arrive until 1984 at age 50. "Californians should be proud their state has taken a stand to end state-sanctioned killing and uphold the human rights of all people".

And though voters in 2016 narrowly approved a ballot measure to speed up the punishment, no condemned inmate faced imminent execution.

"I met someone yesterday who said this is about eradicating evil, and you have a responsibility to eradicate evil by executing those on death row", he said.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals viewed historically as little more than a speedbump on condemned inmates road to
An execution chamber in a file

Newsom also withdrew the lethal injection regulations that death penalty opponents already have tied up in courts and moved to shutter a new execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison that has never been used. Thirty-six states have either abolished the death penalty, put executions on hold or not carried out an execution in at least five years. He will also make a principled claim against the death penalty on its merits, a view with which the majority of Americans have disagreed with every year since the 1970s.

Since the last execution in 2006, court battles have been waged over methods by which prisoners can be executed.

But, no inmate will be released, and no sentence or conviction will be altered, Newsom's executive order says. Over 700 prisoners are now on death row in California, although the state has not performed any executions in over a decade because of legal challenges to the state's lethal injection procedure.

Today, it's hard to find a mainstream Democrat in California who supports the death penalty.

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.

Under the governor's reprieve, all 737 people on death row will remain in prison and, on paper, sentenced to death.

"Our death penalty system has been-by any measure-a failure", the remarks state.

"When he told me that, a little piece of me died", he said.

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