Government - Governor Halts Executions
California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed an executive order stopping the execution of death row prisoners in state penitentiaries.
There are currently 737 people on death row in California, 25 of whom have exhausted their legal appeals. Newsom says to clear the backlog, the state would have to execute "more people than any state in modern American history; (lining) up human beings every single day for execution for two plus years."
But America has also seen a series of death row prisoners freed in recent years, after reviews of their cases revealed they were wrongly convicted. A report from the National Academy of Sciences estimates that one out of every 25 death row inmates is innocent. Governor Newsom, a Democrat, said he could not countenance the odds of putting an innocent person to death.
"If that's the case, that means if we move forward executing 737 people in California, we will have executed roughly 30 people that are innocent," Newsom said. "I don't know about you. I can't sign my name to that. I can't be party to that. I won't be able to sleep at night."