Entries tagged with “Gavin Newsom

Policy Issues

Race

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May 09, 2024

Articles of Interest: Los Angeles Times Editorial Board Says Systemic Racism in California Death Penalty Is Just One of Many Reasons for Abolition

In a May 7, 2024 edi­to­r­i­al, the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board cites the deeply engrained racial dis­par­i­ties in the California death penal­ty sys­tem and how those facts led them to con­clude that even if the state could per­form pain­less and anx­i­ety-free exe­cu­tions and racial bias­es were elim­i­nat­ed, the death penal­ty would still be wrong.” Black defen­dants were 4.6 to 8.7 times more like­ly to be sen­tenced to death than oth­er defen­dants fac­ing sim­i­lar charges” the Board notes, and Latinos were 3.2 to 6.2 times more like­ly to be sentenced…

Policy Issues

Innocence

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Jan 30, 2023

Attorneys for Kevin Cooper Respond to Special Counsel Report

Kevin Cooper (pic­tured) is a death-row pris­on­er in California who was con­vict­ed of mur­der­ing four peo­ple in 1985. He has main­tained his inno­cence of the offense. On January 13, 2023, a spe­cial coun­sel appoint­ed by Governor Gavin Newsom to con­duct an inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tion of Cooper’s case released a report dis­miss­ing his claims of inno­cence, stat­ing, The evi­dence of Cooper’s guilt is exten­sive and conclusive.”

Executions

Executions Overview

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Sep 01, 2021

California Court Rejects Challenge to Execution Moratorium

A California tri­al court has dis­missed a law­suit filed by con­ser­v­a­tive media com­men­ta­tor John V. Lacy that had chal­lenged the con­sti­tu­tion­al­i­ty of the March 2019 exec­u­tive order by Governor Gavin Newsom (pic­tured) declar­ing a mora­to­ri­um on exe­cu­tions in the state.

Policy Issues

Innocence

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Jun 01, 2021

California Gov. Gavin Newsom Orders Investigation into Kevin Cooper Capital Murder Conviction

California Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered an inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tion into the case of Kevin Cooper, who has con­sis­tent­ly main­tained his inno­cence in the 1983 quadru­ple-mur­der for which he was sen­tenced to death. Newsom’s May 28, 2021 exec­u­tive order appoints the law firm Morrison and Foerster, LLP as Special Counsel to the California Board of Parole Hearings and directs the firm to con­duct a full review of the tri­al and appel­late records in [Cooper’s] case and of the facts under­ly­ing the conviction.”

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

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Race

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Oct 28, 2020

California Governor, 6 District Attorneys File Briefs Saying State’s Death Penalty is Arbitrary and Infected by Racism’

Calling California cap­i­tal sen­tenc­ing pro­ceed­ings infect­ed by racism,” Governor Gavin Newsom (pic­tured) has filed a brief in the California Supreme Court sup­port­ing a death-row prisoner’s claim that cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment as cur­rent­ly prac­ticed in the state vio­lates the California penal code and the state constitution.

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

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Sep 10, 2021

California Supreme Court Upholds Death-Penalty Statute Against Challenge That Could Have Overturned Hundreds of Death Sentences

The California Supreme Court has upheld the state’s death-penal­ty statute against a con­sti­tu­tion­al chal­lenge that had the poten­tial to over­turn the sen­tences of hun­dreds of peo­ple on California’s death row. In a unan­i­mous rul­ing issued August 26, 2021 in People v. McDaniel, the court held that a cap­i­tal jury need not unan­i­mous­ly agree to the exis­tence of an aggra­vat­ing cir­cum­stance before weigh­ing it in the sen­tenc­ing deci­sion so long as every juror found that the pros­e­cu­tion had proven at least one aggra­vat­ing cir­cum­stance that jus­ti­fied a death sen­tence beyond a…

Policy Issues

Sentencing Alternatives

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Conditions on Death Row

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Mar 21, 2023

California to Close San Quentin’s Death Row as Part of a Broader Prison Reform

Death-sen­tenced pris­on­ers in California will be moved out of San Quentin State Prison (pic­tured) and placed in oth­er max­i­mum secu­ri­ty facil­i­ties, as part of a broad plan announced by Governor Gavin Newsom on March 17, 2023. The gov­er­nor seeks to trans­form” the state’s old­est prison into a one-of-a-kind facil­i­ty focused on improv­ing pub­lic safe­ty through reha­bil­i­ta­tion and edu­ca­tion.” The state launched a pilot pro­gram in 2020 allow­ing some death-row pris­on­ers to vol­un­tar­i­ly move to oth­er state pris­ons. Under that pro­gram, more than 100 death-row pris­on­ers have already been trans­ferred out…

Policy Issues

Prosecutorial Accountability

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Race

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Religion

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Apr 26, 2024

Federal Judge Orders Alameda County District Attorney to Review 35 Capital Cases Following Disclosure of Prosecutorial Misconduct in Jury Selection

On April 22, 2024, Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price announced that her office was ordered by a fed­er­al judge to review 35 death penal­ty con­vic­tions after the dis­clo­sure of evi­dence that sev­er­al pros­e­cu­tors inten­tion­al­ly exclud­ed Black and Jewish peo­ple from serv­ing on a cap­i­tal mur­der tri­al in 1995. In a press con­fer­ence, DA Price indi­cat­ed that her office dis­cov­ered the hand­writ­ten notes of for­mer pros­e­cu­tors that include dis­crim­i­na­to­ry jury selec­tion tac­tics, sug­gest­ing seri­ous mis­con­duct” per­me­at­ed the office in the 1990s. It’s not lim­it­ed to one or two pros­e­cu­tors, but…

Policy Issues

Victims' Families

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New Voices

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Oct 04, 2023

LA District Attorney Won’t Pursue the Death Penalty Because it Doesn’t Serve as a Deterrent” and Does Not Bring People Back”

On September 26, 2023, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced that he would not seek the death penal­ty in the case of slain Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer. If I thought that the death penal­ty was going to stop peo­ple from com­mit­ting bru­tal mur­ders, I would seek it. But we know that it won’t,” said Gascón at a news con­fer­ence, The real­i­ty is that the death penal­ty doesn’t serve as a deter­rent, and the death penal­ty does not bring peo­ple back. …What I can assure you is that we’re…

Policy Issues

Race

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Apr 10, 2024

Lawsuit Filed at the California Supreme Court Alleges Racist Application of the Death Penalty Violates the State Constitution

On April 9, 2024, the California Office of the State Public Defender, along with sev­er­al civ­il rights groups, filed an extra­or­di­nary writ peti­tion at the California Supreme Court argu­ing that the state’s cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment sys­tem vio­lates the state’s Constitution because of its racial­ly biased imple­men­ta­tion. In 2021, the California Committee on Revision of the Penal Code con­firmed that racial bias is entrenched in the state’s death penal­ty sys­tem. The California Constitution does not per­mit a two-tiered sys­tem of jus­tice where the most severe sen­tence the state has on its books…

Death Row

May 04, 2023

NEW PERSPECTIVES: The Last Days of Death Row in California”

A recent arti­cle in the The Guardian described the reac­tions of some of the California pris­on­ers who have been moved from San Quentin’s death row and trans­ferred to oth­er facil­i­ties around the state. The pris­on­ers are still under a sen­tence of death, but in 2019 Governor Gavin Newsom declared a mora­to­ri­um on exe­cu­tions and has dis­man­tled the exe­cu­tion chamber.

Apr 01, 2021

Newsom Appoints Legislator Who Co-Authored Constitutional Amendment Against Death Penalty to be California’s Attorney General

California Governor Gavin Newsom has appoint­ed Rob Bonta (pic­tured), a state leg­is­la­tor who co-authored a pro­posed state con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ment to ban cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment, as California’s attor­ney gen­er­al. Bonta fills the vacan­cy cre­at­ed by President Joe Biden’s appoint­ment of for­mer state attor­ney gen­er­al Xavier Becerra as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Policy Issues

Race

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Apr 09, 2024

Santa Clara, California County District Attorney Requests Resentencing for County’s Entire Death Row

On April 5, 2024, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen filed peti­tions ask­ing the coun­ty supe­ri­or court to resen­tence 15 death-sen­tenced men from his coun­ty to sen­tences of life in prison with­out the pos­si­bil­i­ty for parole. These peti­tions were filed four years after DA Rosen announced his office would no longer seek the death penal­ty, a deci­sion part­ly in response to nation­wide calls for crim­i­nal legal reform fol­low­ing the mur­der of George Floyd. At the time, DA Rosen said that Mr. Floyd’s death had changed our coun­try and our…