source: New York Times
published: 12 March 2019
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a moratorium on capital punishment on Wednesday, granting a temporary reprieve for the 737 inmates on the state’s death row, the largest in the Western Hemisphere.
The move is highly symbolic because legal challenges have already stalled executions in California; the last one was in 2006. But death penalty opponents hope that because of California’s size and political importance, the governor’s action will give new urgency to efforts to end executions in other states as popular support for the death penalty wanes.
Mr. Newsom, a longtime opponent of capital punishment, cited its high cost, racial disparities in its application and wrongful convictions, and questioned whether society has the right to take a life.
“I know people think eye for eye, but if you rape, we don’t rape,” he said. “And I think if someone kills, we don’t kill. We’re better than that.”
He continued, “I cannot sign off on executing hundreds and hundreds of human beings, knowing — knowing — that among them will be innocent human beings.”