California Governor Gavin Newsom has granted reprieves to all 737 inmates who are on death row and inmates will not be released. Under the new indefinite moratorium no inmate will be executed at California’s only execution chamber, at the San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, California.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Newson stated, “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 execution of its people.” Newsom continued to state, “The intentional killing of another person is wrong,” and, as governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual, he said.
Newson decision about capital punishment comes in the wake of challenges on the use of lethal injection and in response to 11 states who abolished the death penalty. Since 2007, Colorado, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, Illinois, and Connecticut commuted the sentences of death row inmates to life in prison. This makes California the 31st state to join the growing list.
President Trump weighed in on Governor Gavin Newsom decision to stop the death penalty and he isn’t very happy about it. Trump stated on Twitter, that reflected that. Trump stated he was disappointed in the Governor for defying the voter and that .“Friends and families of the always forgotten victims.”
The practice of the lethal injection since its introduction In the United States has brought many questions on its use. The lethal injection was first used in the US on December 7, 1982, in Texas for the execution of Charles Brooks, Jr who was also known as Shareef Ahmad Abdul-Rahim who was sentenced for murder. Brooks was also the first person to be executed since 1964.
Charles Brooks, Jr was born in Fort Worth, Texas on September 1, 1942, and had everything. Brooks was born into a wealthy family but still got into trouble. On December 14, 1976, Brooks went to a car dealer and asked to test drive a car. During the test drive, he took the mechanic David Gregory who went with him to pick up his friend Woody Loudres.
Both Brooks and Lourdes kidnapped Gregory and brought him to a motel room. They tied Gregory up and tortured him before shooting him in the head. Even though Brooks and Lourdes would not admit which one shot Gregory. They both were sentenced for the crime and Brooks received the death penalty, while Lourdes was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
The idea of using lethal injection was for a more human way to execute people. Prior to its usage, there were other methods that individual states used. Over the years the method of lethal injection and the drugs that are used have been questioned. The drugs also used in the procedure many pharmaceutical companies don’t want their drugs used for that purpose, causing a shortage.
Executions in the United States began as early as 1608 in Jamestown Virginia. Captain George Kendall was executed by firing squad in the British colony for spying. Next hangings became a popular form of execution for at least 200 years. Ronnie Lee Gardner was the last person to be hanged on January 25, 1996, in Delaware. It wasn’t until 1890, that the electric chair was first used in New York to execute William Kemmler. Then in 1921, Nevada introduced the gas chamber and executed Gee Jon.
The three drugs used for the lethal injection are sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride. Inmates are strapped to a gurney while an iv is inserted and the drugs are used in a combination to bring death.
The first drug used in the lethal injection is sodium thiopental which is anesthetic, to make the person relaxed and to fall into unconsciousness. The second drug used is pancuronium bromide is a muscle relaxer which paralyzes the person and the third potassium chloride which causes respiratory arrest and stops the heart.
Throughout the US there have been botched executions. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, out of .1,052 executions, there were 75 that went wrong. Some issues that have occurred have been prison officials’ inexperience, efforts to place an IV properly, and the way the drugs affect certain individuals by not working as quickly. It is believed inmates suffer a long and agonizing death causing a cruel and unusual punishment.
Some of the most dangerous, vicious and notorious criminals are on California’s death row. Some residents on death are Scott Peterson, who murdered his pregnant wife Lacey and Connor their unborn child. Randy Steven Kraft who was convicted of killing 16 young men. Marcus Wesson who massacred all nine of his children over a custody dispute.
The last person to be executed in California was Clarence Ray Allen. Allen was 76 years old when he executed on Jan. 17, 2006. He was sentenced to death while already serving a life sentence for ordering the death of Mary Sue Kitts. While in prison he wanted eight people who had testified against him dead so he ordered a hit on them. Allen asked Billy Ray Hamilton who he met in prison to commit the murders upon his release.
On September 5, 1980, Hamilton went to Fran’s Market in Fresno, California where one of the witnesses worked. When the store closed he made them move into the back room where he held them hostage. Hamilton shot five people, killing three and wounding two. He was also sentenced to death in California.