Lawmakers, victim advocates respond to death row halt

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With the stroke of a pen, Governor Gavin Newsom halted the execution of more than 700 inmates on death row on Wednesday.

So long as Gavin Newsom is Governor, California’s death row inmates will not be executed.

The governor announced his executive order alongside an army of supportive state lawmakers.

“I think we’re on the right track, this is who California is,” Assemblyman Rob Bonta said. “The death penalty is not humane, it’s not civilized and it’s broken.”

The death chamber at San Quentin State Prison shut down Wednesday afternoon and paper signs posted on doors citing governor’s orders.

“I did this with a heavy heart, with deep appreciation with deep appreciation for the emotions that drives this issue and I did it with the victims in mind,” Newsom said.

Some Republican lawmakers, including the president, oppose the move saying this ignores California voters when they rejected to repeal the death penalty in 2016 and voted to speed it up.

Law enforcement groups say they understand both sides, but the decision is unfortunate for victim families.

“The families get no closure, they’re left to wait another eight years to determine will the victim who catastrophically impacted my family or my life be put to death?” President of California Peace Officer’s Association Jay Varney said.

The governor’s order does not allow for the convictions to be changed or for the inmates to be released.

State lawmakers this year are considering a bill that would place the removal of the death penalty back on the ballot again for voters to decide.

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