California Suspends Death Penalty

The governor of California has suspended the death penalty, at least for the time he is in office. Currently, there are 737 inmates on death row in California. This is the largest amount of prisoners on death row for any state in the country. The prisoners will not be executed on death row during the governor’s term. The method of killing inmates, lethal injection, has been eliminated. In addition, the execution chamber has been shut down in San Quentin Prison.

Governor’s Reasons to Ban the Death Penalty

California Governor Newsom states the outdated death penalty discriminates against defendants with mental illness, of low socioeconomic class and minorities. In addition, the program costs billions of dollars of tax payer money to operate. Most of all the the death penalty is permanent, while our justice system is flawed and far short of being perfect. In California alone a defendant was found to be innocent last year after 25 years on death row.

There are 20 other states, including Washington State that declared a moratorium on the death penalty months ago, that are in agreement with this policy. That leaves 29 states that have yet to follow suit regarding the elimination of capital punishment.

ArborYpsi Law Take Aways

Capital punishment is an outdated policy. Unfortunately, many defendants have been wrongfully executed and proven innocent after their deaths. Others may have spent decades on death row before evidence such as DNA provided exoneration. Michigan is considered the first government in the English speaking world to abolish the death penalty. Other states are catching up. The death penalty is most often applied to minorities and those with mental illnesses. It is wrong to have a policy in place that targets minorities and the mentally ill especially when the many of them are wrongfully convicted. The California governor made the right call in suspending the death penalty in his state. Hopefully future governors will take similar action or the California legislature takes action.

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Call Sam Bernstein at 734.883.9584 or e-mail at

Sam Bernstein is an Ann Arbor lawyer who focuses on criminal defense.

ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave. Ann Arbor, MI 48108.

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