Cal­i­for­nia’s new gov­er­nor signs mora­to­rium on ex­e­cu­tions

Porterville Recorder - - FRONT PAGE - By DON THOMP­SON

SACRA­MENTO — The 737 in­mates on the na­tion’s largest death row got a re­prieve from Cal­i­for­nia Gov. Gavin New­som on Wed­nes­day when he signed an ex­ec­u­tive or­der plac­ing a mora­to­rium on ex­e­cu­tions.

New­som also with­drew the lethal in­jec­tion reg­u­la­tions that death penalty op­po­nents al­ready have tied up in courts and moved to shut­ter the new ex­e­cu­tion cham­ber at San Quentin State Prison that has never been used.

“It’s a very emo­tional place that I stand,” New­som told re­porters after sign­ing the or­der. “This is about who I am as a hu­man be­ing, this is about what I can or can­not do; to me this was the right thing to do.”

New­som, a Demo­crat, called the death penalty “a fail­ure” that “has dis­crim­i­nated against de­fen­dants who are men­tally ill, black and brown, or can’t af­ford ex­pen­sive le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion.” He also said in­no­cent peo­ple have been wrongly con­victed and some­times put to death.

He said his views on the death penalty were first shaped 40 years ago when he learned of his grand­fa­ther’s and fa­ther’s ad­vo­cacy for a wrong­fully con­victed man.

“I was a young man learn­ing that life story,” he said after sign­ing the or­der. “I’ve got­ten a sense over a course of many, many years over the dis­par­i­ties in our crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem.”

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump tweeted Wed­nes­day that vot­ers don’t sup­port New­som’s de­ci­sion.

“Friends and fam­i­lies of the al­ways for­got­ten VIC­TIMS are not thrilled, and nei­ther am I!” Trump wrote.

Cal­i­for­nia hasn’t ex­e­cuted any­one since 2006, when Re­pub­li­can Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger was gov­er­nor. And though vot­ers in 2016 nar­rowly ap­proved a bal­lot mea­sure to speed up the pun­ish­ment, no con­demned in­mate faced im­mi­nent ex­e­cu­tion.

come in and meet with in­de­pen­dent study teach­ers and take tests, but stressed that noth­ing is cer­tain yet.

“We will do our best to pro­vide more than that. We need a longer day for stu­dents with ba­bies or more needs, two to three days, but I can't guar­an­tee that,” Crater said.

An­other con­cern with the move is stu­dent trans­porta­tion, and Crater said she is work­ing with the As­sis­tant Su­per­in­ten­dent of Busi­ness ser­vices to come up with so­lu­tions. After an­nounc­ing the two pieces of bad news, an emo­tional Crater re­as­sured par­ents she would do all she could to main­tain the pos­i­tive learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for their chil­dren.

“I'm look­ing at all these wor­ried faces, and I just want to do my best to as­sure you that I'm go­ing to work as hard as I can to pro­vide great ser­vices to those stu­dents who are re­turn­ing in the fall,” said Crater.

Crater then opened up the meet­ing for ques­tions. She spoke with some­one in the au­di­ence who asked about the But­ter­field site, and Crater replied that the char­ter for But­ter­field has been amended for stu­dents from eighth through grade 12, so they would be able to pro­vide ser­vices for all stu­dents in mid­dle school. She said all stu­dents would be pro­vided ser­vices, even home school stu­dents.

One stu­dent said she had been go­ing to Prospect since she was preg­nant, and her daugh­ter is now in school there, and she asked Crater about what will be pro­vided at But­ter­field.

“When it comes to our teen par­ents we will pro­vide as much child care as pos­si­ble, the ques­tion is how much we can pro­vide, and what we can pro­vide,” said Crater. “We will make sure we will cus­tom­ize for each in­di­vid­ual stu­dent for emo­tional rea­sons.”

An­other stu­dent in the au­di­ence, Saman­tha Bel­tran, said Prospect has a lot of suc­cess sto­ries, and she was con­cerned about not keep­ing teach­ers to­gether with stu­dents “who've come to de­pend upon them, with whom they've had strong trust­ing re­la­tion­ships and spe­cial bonds.”

Crater stressed that the school psy­chol­o­gist, the nurse, and all the other spe­cial­ized per­son­nel would be in one place, and said that Prospect is an older build­ing. She said the But­ter­field build­ing will be re­mod­eled, but hav­ing every­one at one lo­ca­tion would ben­e­fit every­one.

An­other staff mem­ber said, “It's like mov­ing home. It weird at first, but you get used to it.”

“We will do the best we can,” Crater said, “But it's sad.”

PUSD Su­per­in­ten­dent gave more de­tails on the evening's an­nounce­ments, not­ing that re­tire­ments and a down­turn in dis­trict en­roll­ment have im­pacted the cost-cut­ting de­ci­sions.

“A big piece is that Prospect is not as big a fa­cil­ity as But­ter­field, and But­ter­field is newer, there is a cafe­te­ria and other ameni­ties,” said Nel­son.

He added that the Prospect site is a city fa­cil­ity, and it might be­come a com­mu­nity cen­ter. The city also wants to uti­lize the land be­hind Prospect Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­ter.

“We want to thank you for show­ing such pas­sion and com­pas­sion for the school,” said Nel­son. “We are try­ing to do the best, and we are grate­ful for ev­ery­thing the staff have done at Prospect.”

“And we are do­ing our best to fig­ure out how we can pro­vide the best ser­vices for you,” added Crater.

AP PHOTO BY RICH PEDRONCELLI

Gov. Gavin New­som signs the ex­ec­u­tive or­der plac­ing a mora­to­rium on the death penalty at his Capi­tol of­fice Wed­nes­day, March 13, in Sacra­mento, Calif.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.