The liberal leader of blue state California, Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom, substituted his own opinion over that of his state’s voters when he issued an executive order on Wednesday that all but abolished the use of the death penalty in the state.
The unilateral decision by the governor drew plenty of sharp criticism, especially from President Donald Trump, who reminded everyone of the family and friends of murder victims who will no longer be able to see justice served against the convicted killers.
President is “not thrilled”
President Trump slammed Newsom for “defying voters” in a tweet on Wednesday, writing:
Defying voters, the Governor of California will halt all death penalty executions of 737 stone cold killers. Friends and families of the always forgotten VICTIMS are not thrilled, and neither am I!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2019
The Epoch Times reported that Newsom had indeed defied the expressed will of California’s voters with his decision to not only halt the death penalty process for the 737 convicted murderers on California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation death row, but to also close and dismantle the state’s execution chamber.
Voters were faced with the question of the death penalty in two separate propositions on the statewide ballot in the 2016 election, both of which resulted in voters supporting the execution of convicted murderers.
Proposition 62 would have repealed the death penalty outright, but it was defeated by 53.1 percent of the voters, meaning a majority of voters wanted executions to continue.
Furthermore, voters also solidly approved Proposition 66 that year, which called for fast-tracking the appeals process to shorten the length of time convicted killers would wait on death row.
Potential abuse of authority
Despite those two recent propositions in which voters clearly expressed their will with regard to the execution of death row inmates, the state took no real action to follow through on that will, as the state has not executed a death row inmate since 2006.
In fact, since a United States Supreme Court ruling in 1976 reinstated the death penalty as legal and constitutional, California has seen fit to execute only 13 convicted murderers over that span of time.
Meanwhile, at least 105 death row inmates died of natural causes or suicide over that same time span.
As for Newsom’s decision to halt the death penalty process, he may well be within his rights of clemency as a governor to grant reprieves or stays of execution for inmates sentenced to death.
However, his action to shut down and dismantle the execution chamber at San Quentin prison, as well as halt the search for a new lethal injection drug, may have exceeded the authority he wields, as will no doubt be determined by legal challenges to the move.
Gov. Newsom doesn’t like the death penalty for convicted murderers — though he is fine with aborting innocent unborn babies — and his executive order was issued in direct defiance of the expressed will of his own state’s voters little more than two years ago, which is utterly unacceptable.