Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered an executive moratorium on the death penalty in the form of a reprieve for all people sentenced to death in California including Butte County Convicts.
“Executive order declares a moratorium on executions of California’s 737 inmates on death row
Governor Newsom also orders a withdrawal of California’s lethal injection protocol and calls for the immediate closure of the execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison
The order does not provide for the release of any individual from prison or otherwise alter any current conviction or sentence
SACRAMENTO –- Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order today placing a moratorium on the death penalty in California. The executive order also calls for withdrawing California’s lethal injection protocols and immediately closing the execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison. The order does not provide for the release of any individual from prison or otherwise alter any current conviction or sentence.
“The intentional killing of another person is wrong and as Governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual,” said Governor Newsom. “Our death penalty system has been, by all measures, a failure. It has discriminated against defendants who are mentally ill, black and brown, or can’t afford expensive legal representation. It has provided no public safety benefit or value as a deterrent. It has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars. Most of all, the death penalty is absolute. It’s irreversible and irreparable in the event of human error.”
There are 737 people currently on death row in California. California has the largest death row population in the Western Hemisphere — one in four people on death row in the United States are in California.
The death penalty is unevenly and unfairly applied to people of color, people with mental disabilities, and people who cannot afford costly legal representation. More than six in ten people on California’s death row are people of color. A 2005 study found that those convicted of killing whites were more than three times as likely to be sentenced to death as those convicted of killing blacks and more than four times as likely as those convicted of killing Latinos. At least 18 of the 25 people executed in the U.S. in 2018 had one or more of the following impairments: significant evidence of mental illness; evidence of brain injury, developmental brain damage, or an IQ in the intellectually disabled range; chronic serious childhood trauma, neglect, and/or abuse.
Innocent people have been sentenced to death in California. Since 1973, 164 condemned prisoners nationwide, including five in California, have been freed from death row after they were found to have been wrongfully convicted. No person has been executed since 2006 because California’s execution protocols have not been lawful. Yet today, 25 California death row inmates have exhausted all of their state and federal appeals and could be eligible for an execution date.
Since 1978, California has spent $5 billion on a death penalty system that has executed 13 people. Three states — Oregon, Colorado and Pennsylvania — have Governor-imposed moratoria on the death penalty and in 2018, the Washington State Supreme Court struck down the death penalty as unconstitutional and “racially biased.”
A copy of the executive order signed today can be found here.”
Chicoer posted: “The move places a “moratorium” on the death penalty, which Newsom said would not be carried out for as long as he remains governor, according to his executive order. The action does not alter the convictions or sentences for the 737 people on the state’s death row, nor does it provide for anyone’s release from prison.
The order grants a reprieve for condemned men convicted in Butte County — Lee Max Barnett, now 73, has been on death row at San Quentin State Prison for more than 30 years after he was sentenced to death in 1988 for the torture-killing of his former gold mining partner, 44-year-old Richard Eggettand.
Over a several-hour period, Eggett was beaten, kicked, shot in the feet, raked with a fishhook and later stabbed eight times after being tied naked to a tree, the evidence showed,” according to the ChicoER’s paper archives reports.
Dannie Hillhouse, now 57, has been on death row for more than 26 years, he was sentenced to death in 1992 for the kidnapping, robbery and slaying of 28-year-old Brett Schultz, a Lake Tahoe woodworker, according to the archives. Hillhouse and his brother allegedly lured a drunken Schultz from a Chico bar and drove toward the hills above Paradise.
Along the way, Hillhouse, driving Schultz’s truck, pulled over, and Schultz got out to urinate, according to the archives. Hillhouse then allegedly stabbed Schultz to death and robbed him of $20 and some tools. Schultz’ body was found near Stirling City according to the Chicoer paper archives.