This post, News Scan, by Michael Rushford, first appeared on at http://www.crimeandconsequences.com/crimblog/.
Is Newsom’s Moratorium Legal? In the wake of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s blanket reprieve of all of the murderers on the state’s death row, supporters of capital punishment are asking if he actually had the power to issue such an order. Michelle Hanisee who heads up the Association of Deputy District Attorneys in Los Angeles reports that the Governor’s order, which actually consisted of three orders, is mostly legal. The Governor has the power to grant the reprieves (which he intends to leave in place as long as he is in office). The order to rescind the state’s execution protocol and dismantle the execution chamber conflict with provisions of Proposition 66 that state voters approved in 2016. The initiative “requires the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to maintain at all times the ability to execute such judgments. The
governor’s orders to repeal the execution protocol and close the
execution chamber are in direct contradiction of that law.” But from a practical standpoint, in light of the blanket reprieve, those orders were mostly for show and could quickly be reversed if the reprieve were lifted. The fact remains that shortly after assuming office the Governor did something he told Californians he would not do….disrespect the will of the voters regarding capital punishment.