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Gov Gavin Newsom Halts Death Penalty in California

Gov. Gavin Newsom is suspending the death penalty in California, calling it discriminatory and immoral and granting reprieves to the 737 condemned inmates on the nation’s largest Death Row. “I do not believe that a civilized society can claim to be a leader in the world as long as its government continues to sanction the premeditated and discriminatory execution of its people,” Newsom said in a statement accompanying an executive order, to be issued Wednesday, declaring a moratorium on capital punishment in the state. “The death penalty is inconsistent with our bedrock values and strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a Californian.” San Francisco Chronicle.

We urged Gov. Newsom not to execute anyone on Jan. 22, 2019. Gov. Newsom demonstrates the courage and respect for human dignity that Kamala Harris and Jerry Brown lacked.

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Dear Governor Brown:

I write to urge you to commute the Death Penalty for 740 inmates living on Death Row in California. The Death Penalty is morally wrong. The Death Penalty is also cruel and unusual, prone to error, unnecessary, inefficient, expensive to administer, and fundamentally unfair. I write from professional and personal experience as a civil rights and human rights attorney.

I served as a federal prosecutor as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York under John Martin and Rudy Giuliani. I also represented indigent inmates on Death Row in Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi as a cooperating attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

In Georgia, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed the reversal of the conviction and death sentence on the grounds that the prosecution did not disclose exculpatory evidence of innocence to the jury and defense. With Stuart Hanlon, Johnnie Cochran, and others, I helped release Geronimo Pratt, the late Black Panther leader, after 27 years in prison for a capital murder he did not commit. The California Court of Appeal affirmed the reversal of his conviction on the grounds that the prosecution did not disclose impeachment and exculpatory evidence of innocence to the jury and the defense. The prosecution subsequently dropped all charges in both cases for lack of evidence. Fortunately, both were alive to be released and exonerated.

Former Governors Richard Celeste of Ohio, John Kitzhaber of Oregon, Martin O’Malley of Maryland, Bill Richardson of New Mexico, Toney Anaya of New Mexico, and Pat Quinn of Illinois have jointly asked you to save these lives by commuting the death sentences.

Please commute the 740 death sentences. Thank you. Very truly yours,
Robert García
Founding Director-Counsel
The City Project
Dec. 28, 2018