SACRAMENTO — Sen. Jeff Stone, R-Riverside County, wasted no time in letting the public know what he thinks of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement that he will suspend California’s death penalty.
“I’m disappointed that today’s action undermines the will of California’s voters who little more than two years ago voted to reaffirm the death penalty,” Stone said in a prepared statement.
“With his actions today, the Governor has made it clear that to him democracy does not matter. The people have spoken repeatedly on the death penalty and this Governor has chosen to ignore them. When the Governor was running for office, he told the Modesto Bee that he would separate his personal views from his professional responsibilities to uphold the will of the people – especially when it came to implementing the death penalty.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom put a moratorium on the death penalty in California on Wednesday, sparing the lives of more than 700 death-row inmates.
Saying the death penalty is “ineffective, irreversible and immoral,” he signed an executive order granting reprieves to all 737 Californians awaiting executions – a quarter of the country’s death row inmates.
His action comes three years after California voters rejected an initiative to end the death penalty, instead passing a measure to speed up executions.
California is one of 31 states with capital punishment, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In recent years, other states have abolished the death penalty and several other governors have placed moratoriums on executions. The California Constitution gives the governor power to grant reprieves to inmates, providing he reports his reasoning to the Legislature, according to the Sacramento Bee.
“The Governor has given a reprieve to serial killers such as William Suff who was found guilty of murdering 12 women and dumping their bodies in fields in Western Riverside County between 1989 and 1991,” Stone said. Suff was sentenced to death in 1995. His death sentence was upheld in 2014 by the California Supreme Court.
“In addition, the families and friends of the people who have been heinously murdered by killers arrested, tried, convicted, sentenced and have had their sentences upheld by appellate courts are being victimized once again by a Governor who has abandoned his constitutional responsibility to support, uphold and defend the laws and constitution of the State of California.”
Stone, reelected to a four-year term in November 2018, said, “Justice was clearly not served in Sacramento this morning, and this is indeed a disappointing day for democracy in California.”
Stone represents California’s 28th Senate District. The district, which is entirely in Riverside County, stretches from the vineyards of the Temecula Valley to the Colorado River and includes the cities of Blythe, Canyon Lake, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, Indio, Lake Elsinore, La Quinta, Murrieta, Temecula, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage and Wildomar.
- Head-photo-of-senator-stone-e1509503081535: Sen. Jeff Stone
- Death Penalty: The Japan Times