Trump criticizes California’s plans to place a moratorium on executions

Trump criticizes California’s plans to place a moratorium on executions

More than 700 inmates on America's largest death row are set for reprieve today as the governor of California announces a moratorium on capital punishment in the state.

More than 900 people have been sentenced to death in California since 1978 but only 13 have been executed.

Studies show the death penalty disproportionately affects minority communities and people with mental illnesses.

Gavin Newsom will sign an executive order today that effectively halts executions, U.S. media reported.

Newsom said the death penalty was not a deterrent, wasted taxpayer dollars and was flawed because it is "irreversible and irreparable in the event of human error".

"The intentional killing of another person is wrong", Newsom said.

"The action runs counter to the expressed will of California voters, who over the last six years rejected two statewide ballot measures to repeal the death penalty and favored fast-tracking the appeals process". Twenty-five of the death row prisoners have exhausted all appeals.

Stephen Lam / ReutersAn inmate stands against a fence at the Adjustment Center yard during a media tour of California's death row at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, California 29 December, 2015.

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Ellen Kreitzberg, a death penalty expert and opponent at Santa Clara University law school in California, welcomed Newsom's move. In recent years, other states have abolished the death penalty and several other governors have placed moratoriums on executions.

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. The reason for the lapse in executions is due to legal challenges against the state's method of lethal injection, the Los Angeles Times reported.

This could create a challenge for Newsom, since his executive order would be denying the will of the California people.

"As conservatives, we applaud Governor Newsom's decision because the death penalty violates our beliefs in limited government, fiscal responsibility, and the value of life". Scheidegger said that Newsom can grant reprieves to condemned inmates but cannot order the closing of the death chamber or the halting of the effort to find a new lethal injection.

The state joins Colorado, Oregon, and Pennsylvania, which have similar bans, and 20 states that have abolished the death penalty, it said. At least 18 of the 25 people who were executed a year ago had significant evidence of mental illness, intellectually damaging brain injuries or chronic childhood trauma or abuse, according to a Death Penalty Information Center report released in December.

"The death penalty is immoral, discriminatory, ineffective, and proven to be unequally applied", she added.

"The disparities are very real and raw to me now especially as I spend every week working on the issues of paroles and commutations", he said.

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