California prosecutors seek new capital punishment cases

SACRAMENTO (KRON) – The State Supreme Court could possibly weigh in on whether prosecutors should keep pursuing death penalty cases while the governor’s moratorium is in effect.

Regardless of Governor Newsom’s moratorium on the death penalty, prosecutors from across the state continue to seek new capital punishment cases.

As Cleamon Johnson faces the death penalty, his lawyers are appealing to the State Supreme Court to block capital murder trials while the moratorium is in place.

“Anyone paying attention is going to know there’s no death penalty in the state of California right now,” Defense Attorney Rob Sanger said.

Johnson’s lead attorney Rob Sanger says jurors have to believe their choice is a life or death decision, but with no one executed in California in more than a decade and with Gavin Newsom in office, he says it’s not. 

“You figure if you have a jury of 12 people, most of them if not all of them are going to know that,” Sanger said.

DA’S pursuing capital punishment have said it’s their right to do so, Sanger says it’s a waste of resources.

“If the courts don’t take a serious look at it before we have a whole slew of additional trials, we’re not only going to spend a whole lot of money now, they may have to be redone,” Sanger said.

In Sacramento, several DA’s announced in April they would seek the death penalty against the suspected golden state killer Joseph Deangelo.

Sacramento County DA Anne Marie Schubert has been a vocal opponent of the moratorium and a leader in the prosecution of Deangelo.

We reached out to her for comment but she was not available.