Famous Last Words

“The death penalty has been an abject failure. It discriminates based on the color of your skin or how much money you make. It’s ineffective, irreversible, and immoral. It goes against the very values that we stand for.” That statement comes from California Governor Gavin Newsom as he used an executive order to suspend the state’s death penalty and ordered immediate shutdown of the death chamber at San Quentin. The last execution carried out at San Quentin was back in 2006, so when it comes to the actual number of executions, the order may not have a major impact. The same is not true when it comes to how Newsom’s move will alter the tenor of the debate on the subject. You can now expect the death penalty to move towards the top of the stack of contentious issues at the center the 2020 election. And the debate will likely mirror this headline from the Sacramento Bee: Newsom’s death penalty moratorium met with praise and rage.

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