Newsom Outlines For CA Supreme Court Reasons Why Death Penalty Is Racist


The death chamber at California's San Quentin State Prison was dismantled by Governor Newsom's order in 2109.

The death chamber at California's San Quentin State Prison was dismantled by Governor Newsom's order in 2109.

Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday filed with the California Supreme Court what's known as an amicus brief on the subject of racial bias in the application of the death penalty.

"Amid our nationwide reckoning on racism and historical injustice, the State of California is continuing to address the failings in our criminal justice system. California's capital punishment scheme is now, and always has been, infected by racism," said Governor Newsom. "Since its inception, the American death penalty has been disproportionately applied, first, to enslaved Africans and African Americans, and, later to free Black people. With this filing, we make clear that all Californians deserve the same right to a jury trial that is fair, and that it is a matter of life and death."

Newsom has made it clear from the beginning of his time as governor that he is opposed to the death penalty. He claims that African-Americans and Latinos are especially more likely to be sentenced to death row. In March of last year, Newsom issued an executive order halting the death penalty and the dismantling of the execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison.

In his brief, Newsom said that people of color are often left off of juries tasked with deciding death penalty cases. He suggested that's because they have a different view of the American legal system based on more negative experiences with the system, so they are less likely to support a death sentence.