Governor Gavin Newsom announced he will impose a moratorium on the state’s death penalty, granting reprieves to all 737 inmates on death row and closing California’s execution chamber during his time in office.
Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) released the following statement following the press conference:
“I stand with Governor Newsom and his decision to place a moratorium on the death penalty, making California the twelfth state to grant clemency to those on death row. The state should not be the ultimate arbiter of life and death, especially when over 160 individuals across the nation on death row have been found to be wrongfully convicted.
As the vice chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus and chair of the Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color, I am all too familiar with the disproportionate impact the death penalty has on people of color, the mentally ill, and those who are unable to afford legal representation. Six out of ten people serving on California’s death row are people of color and nationwide nearly twenty people who were executed had some form of diagnosed mental impairment or illness. Of those 737 individuals on death row, only one had been represented by private council — Scott Peterson. It is clear that this is not just a color issue, but an economic one as well. Only poor people are sentenced to death. In California you are better off being rich and guilty than poor and innocent. This is simply unacceptable.
Capital punishment is not justice and death is not righteous. In 2019, we must focus on rehabilitative and crime prevention efforts that ultimately improve public safety. This is a major step toward a more equitable and humane criminal justice system.”