California

California Supreme Court declines to block two death penalty cases despite Newsom moratorium

Governor explains his personal and passionate view behind halting death penalty

Gov. Gavin Newsom put a moratorium on the death penalty in California on March 13, 2019, sparing the lives of more than 700 death-row inmates.
Up Next
Gov. Gavin Newsom put a moratorium on the death penalty in California on March 13, 2019, sparing the lives of more than 700 death-row inmates.

The California Supreme Court on Wednesday denied petitions in two unrelated death penalty cases, clearing the way for district attorneys to continue prosecuting the cases despite Gov. Gavin Newsom’s moratorium against capital punishment.

Jade Douglas Harris and Cleamon Demone Johnson both face the death penalty in unrelated capital murder cases; Harris is accused of killing three people and injuring two others in a shooting rampage, while Johnson is charged with five counts of murder, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In March, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order putting a moratorium on the death penalty in the Golden State. Newsom called the capital punishment “ineffective, irreversible and immoral” and granted a reprieve to all 737 inmates currently awaiting execution.

California’s last execution was in 2006.

Both men filed in July for a petition for review for their case. Harris received a stay on his case from the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

They argued, through their attorneys, that jurors would be unable to measure the seriousness of imposing the death penalty if they thought such a penalty would never be carried out, according to The Associated Press.

The justices disagreed, and also lifted the stay in Harris’ case.

With the petition denied, the district attorney’s office in each case is free to continue pursuing the death penalty.

Related stories from Merced Sun-Star

Andrew Sheeler covers California’s unique political climate for McClatchy. He has covered crime and politics from Interior Alaska to North Dakota’s oil patch to the rugged coast of southern Oregon. He attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
  Comments