Pelosi Statement on Governor Newsom’s Decision to Halt Death Penalty in California

March 13, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement after Governor Newsom announced a moratorium on the death penalty in California, granting a temporary reprieve for the 737 inmates currently on death row, the largest number in the United States:

“Governor Newsom’s courageous decision to announce a moratorium on the death penalty in California is a momentous step for justice that honors the Constitution’s 8th Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

“Even the most heinous of crimes can be punished without killing.  Yet poor people, especially from communities of color, have been disproportionately charged with capital crimes and sentenced to death compared to wealthier defendants.  The stream of people awaiting execution who have been exonerated with DNA evidence is another chilling sign of the death penalty’s brokenness and barbarism.  And in addition to being cruel, error-ridden and unjust, the high cost of maintaining the death penalty also diverts needed resources from initiatives to serve victims and to rehabilitate other offenders.

“Under Governor Newsom’s leadership, California is honoring our duty to pursue justice.  We must continue to confront the ways in which our criminal justice system falls short of our Constitution and our bedrock American commitment to equal justice under law.”