California will enact a moratorium on executions of death row inmates

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California will enact a moratorium on executions of death row inmates The governor of California, Gavin Newsom. EFE / Archive

 WASHINGTON (AP) – California Governor Gavin Newsom will issue a moratorium on executions of prisoners sentenced to death in that US state on Wednesday, California media reported.

California has the most populous death row in the United States, with 740 prisoners, although it is one of the states with the least executions in the country with a total of 13 (the last in 2006) since the restitution of the death penalty in 1976.

In addition to suspending the possible execution of any of these prisoners, the decree of moratorium will also include the closing of the execution room located in the San Quintín State Prison and will cancel the legal efforts that the state was advancing so that the courts could approve new lethal injections .

Newsom, a Democrat, is scheduled to make the announcement to the California Legislature in a speech stating that the death penalty has been “a failure”.

“It has discriminated against mentally ill defendants, African Americans and Latinos, who can not afford a costly defense,” the governor will say, according to the leaked speech to the local media.

With this decision, California will join Pennsylvania, Oregon and Colorado as states with moratoriums of executions decreed by the governors but with the current death penalty.
Newsom will thus draw the result of up to three referendums that in recent years have endorsed the death penalty in California.

In 2012 and 2016, Californians rejected proposals to abolish the death penalty at the polls, and also in 2016 they supported an initiative that foresaw shortening the appeals process to which an inmate is entitled with the aim of accelerating executions.

In spite of the moratorium, the courts will be able to continue condemning to death new defendants, who in that case will swell the corridor of death.

And it is not expected that Newsom use its power to commute the capital sentences of the 740 sentenced to death for life imprisonment.

Since the Supreme Court of the United States reinstated the death penalty in 1976, 1,493 prisoners have been executed throughout the country, the majority in the state of Texas (560), while in California they have been 13.

As of October 2018, California had 740 of the 2,721 prisoners sentenced to death in the United States, 27.2% of the total, more than double the number of Florida prisoners, with 354.

Twenty of the 50 states of the Union have abolished the death penalty, which is still in force for the other 30, in addition to the federal Government and the Armed Forces. (EFEUSA)

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