California governor may commute death sentences

Gov. Gavin Newsom is not only putting a moratorium on executions in California, he also may commute death sentences and is pushing to repeal capital punishment whether through the ballot box or the courts.

Newsom signed an executive order granting reprieves to all 737 condemned inmates on the nation's largest death row. That means no executions while he's governor.

He said he's considering commuting death sentences as "a next step" once state Supreme Court justices explain why they blocked several non-death commutations sought by former Gov. Jerry Brown last year.

He also supports repealing the death penalty. Democratic lawmakers introduced a ballot measure to do so next year.

The state prison guards' union says the death penalty is the only deterrent to keep murderers from killing again behind bars.

 

Dawn Kamber