In 2016, California voters approved Proposition 66. The bill, which passed narrowly, kept the death penalty in place along with some procedural changes that expedited the appeals process by putting trial courts in charge of initial petitions challenging death penalty convictions. Prop 66 also set a new time frame for death penalty review.
The legislation goes even further, requiring death row inmates to work to pay restitution to victims’ families. The measure did away with public review requirements for the state’s lethal injection procedures.
California is widely held to be one of the most progressive states in the nation. However, capital punishment tends to fly in the face of lenient viewpoints. Still, the death penalty is a fixture of state law; yet, the state’s new governor is doing what he can to put an end to the practice, one that disproportionately affects people of color and those with mental health disabilities. January 17, 2006, was the last time a death penalty sentence was carried out in California.
Moratorium on Executions in California
One of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first orders of business is halting any executions in California, as long as he is governor, NPR reports. His executive moratorium ordered the closure of the state’s execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison, effective immediately. The Governor’s action does not overturn any existing convictions or death penalty sentences.
“Our death penalty system has been — by any measure — a failure,” Newsom said in a written statement. “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 a human error.”
Gov. Newsom’s move put the state in line with Colorado and Oregon which have similar moratoriums on the death penalty, according to the article. The Death Penalty Information Center reports that twenty states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation abolishing capital punishment.
Supporters of the death penalty called the executive moratorium an “abuse of power.”
Orange County Criminal Defense
If you or a loved one is being charged with any form of homicide, it is vital that you seek experienced legal representation. The Law Office of Ronald G. Brower has handled many homicide defense cases, and attorney Brower can provide you with the quality representation you or your family requires. Please contact our office today to learn more.