Gavin Newsom’s Flawed Death Penalty Moratorium

The fight to have the death penalty carried out as the voters of California demand–and not thwarted by the Governor is not over. Read this piece from Taxifornia author James Lacy and judge for yourself:


Gavin Newsom’s Flawed Death Penalty Moratorium

By James V. Lacy

Anthony Avalos should have celebrated his 13th birthday. Instead, his family members are in mourning.

“I miss him so much,” Anthony’s aunt, Maria Barron, said at a public memorial in May. “I wish he could be here today.”

More than three years after the Lancaster boy was brutally tortured and murdered, Anthony’s family remains without justice.

This spring, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón ordered his deputies to drop the death penalty case against the defendants who allegedly “would repeatedly pour hot sauce on Anthony’s face and mouth, torture him by making him kneel on rice, whip him with a belt and cords, hold him upside down and drop him on his head over and over.”

In announcing his decision to drop the death penalty case, “Gascón’s office noted that there is a moratorium on executions in California,” according to the Los Angeles Times.  Other media outlets have repeated the statement.

“Of course, in California, there is no death penalty,” KABC 7 reporter Jory Rand stated in his report on the Avalos case.

Except California still has a death penalty. After all, it’s enshrined in the State Constitution. Yet, the public remains completely confused about the law of the land. That’s why I am in court to enforce California’s constitutional protections and provide public clarity on the law.

Whether he’s ordering lockdowns, or private dinners at the French Laundry, Newsom’s actions reek of double standards and hypocrisy. His actions to halt the state’s death penalty are no exception.

In 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom exceeded his constitutional authority and acted illegally by ending California’s capital punishment. Newsom wanted it both ways: praise from the progressive pro-criminal crowd, while also claiming that he had complied with the State Constitution’s punishment of death for the most heinous crimes.

To thread this needle, Newsom received $405,000 in donated legal services from the private law firm of Boies Schiller Flexner to craft Executive Order N-09-19, which declared an “executive moratorium on the death penalty … in the form of a reprieve for all people sentenced to death in California.”

However, Gavin Newsom did not comply with the state’s Constitutional requirements for reprieves, pardons, and clemency.

Under Article V, Section 8 of the State Constitution, a governor is obligated to “report to the Legislature each reprieve, pardon, and commutation granted, stating the pertinent facts and the reasons for granting it.”  Newsom never issued “each” of those reports.

At the end of this month, a Sacramento County Superior Court will consider my challenge to Newsom’s illegal actions. Our case is simple: the Governor does not have a legislative power to pick and choose the laws he wants to follow. If the Governor takes actions in excess of his executive powers, the state allows individual citizens, such as myself, the standing to correct those transgressions.

My lawsuit seeks a Declaratory Judgment that Newsom unconstitutionally exceeded his authority by disregarding established law in dismantling the death chamber and repealing the state’s lethal injection protocol regulations as part of his death penalty moratorium. I’m seeking a reversal of those actions.

Unsurprisingly, I’m facing off against Newsom and his cadre of wealthy supporters. In addition to the full taxpayer-funded resources of the Governor’s office, the Attorney General and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Newsom has received more than $164,000 in behested legal services from the private law firm of O’Melveny and Myers.

By overturning Newsom’s illegal actions, a court can ensure justice for crime victims and end the public confusion over the state’s death penalty laws. It also complies with the will of California voters, who time and again, have affirmed the state’s death penalty.

Even today, as the media praises cop killers and promotes defunding the police, a majority of Californians would vote against a constitutional amendment to abolish the death penalty, according to a June 2021 survey by the national polling firm of McLaughlin and Associates.

A hearing on mutual motions for summary adjudication is scheduled in Sacramento Superior Court, Department 53 for August 31 in the case of Lacy v. Newsom, Case. No. 34-2021-00293349-CU-MC-GDS.