Gov. Gavin Newsom to Suspend Death Penalty in California - Trump Fumes

The lethal injection facility at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin Calif

Democratic presidential hopeful Kamala Harris of California is praising Gov. Gavin Newsom after he said he'd sign an executive order halting the death penalty in the state. They include Richard Davis, who kidnapped 12-year-old Polly Klaas during a slumber party and strangled her, and Lonnie Franklin Jr., convicted of killing nine women and a teenage girl in Los Angeles.

Shawn Steele, a California representative on the Republican National Committee, said the GOP would likely use the moratorium in upcoming campaigns against Newsom and other Democrats.

"Symbolically it is very significant", Robert Dunham, the executive director of the not-for-profit Death Penalty Information Center, told the Guardian.

Needless to say, Newsom's actions have been criticised by others within USA law. In recent years, other states have abolished the death penalty and several other governors have placed moratoriums on executions.

"Our death penalty system has been-by any measure-a failure", Newsom added. Levine's district includes San Quentin State Prison, which houses California's death row and execution chamber. In 2016, California voters passed a ballot measure to expedite executions and defeated a measure to end the death penalty. The state has not held an execution since 2006 but appeared to be moving towards resuming them.

Flanked by Democratic party leaders, Newsom said he chose to take the move because of steps by the state towards resuming executions.

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Since becoming governor, Newsom has been meeting with the families of victims, as well as law enforcement officials, while consulting with his legal team about what action to take.

President Donald Trump, who has suggested expanding the death penalty so drug dealers are subject to it, lamented that California's "stone cold killers" will not be executed under Newsom's order.

Among the most notorious inmates is Lonnie David Franklin Jr, also known as the "Grim Sleeper", who was sentenced to death for 10 murders between 1985 and 2007.

"I've never believed in the death penalty from a moral perspective", he said.

Human Rights Watch said that, with the governor's decision, California continues a trend in the USA of moving away from putting people to death. "And as governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual".

At that time, Newsom said he understood that the issue "raises deeply felt passions on all sides" but he believed that Americans ultimately would look back on the death penalty "as an archaic mistake".

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California has the biggest death row population in the country, with one in four U.S. inmates on death row incarcerated in the state.

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.

"You can't make this up, Anderson", the governor said.

Democratic Assemblyman Marc Levine has introduced a measure that would, if approved by two-thirds of the Legislature, put the question on the ballot in 2020.

Another 79 have died of natural causes, and a further 26 committed suicide, figures from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation show.

The Associated Press reports that Newsom will argue today that the system is broken, and that innocent people have sometimes been wrongly convicted and put to death.

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