SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said she was disheartened after hearing about Gov. Gavin Newsom's executive action to suspend the death penalty in California.
Democratic Assemblyman Marc Levine has introduced a constitutional amendment to repeal the death penalty, which will go on the ballot in November 2020. He insists this is about the costs to taxpayers.
Reports suggest California's death penalty program has cost taxpayers more than $4 billion since it was reinstated in 1978.
"This is extraordinarily expensive for something that is overly applied to people of color. It casts a wide net that includes the innocent and with that type of money, the taxpayers are paying for this. We can do so many other things to bring justice to California," said Levine.
Newsom says his decision came down to one main point.
"I cannot sign off on executing hundreds and hundreds of human beings knowing that among them will be innocent human beings," Newsom said in a press conference on Wednesday. "We will reprieve those on death row, we are not commuting the sentences. People will remain in custody."
Because of that decision, Schubert offered an apology to victims' families.
"I'm sorry. That's about all you can say. You can't have honest debate about the death penalty unless you talk about the facts of these crimes because that's what got them there," said Schubert. "This battle has been fought for many years and time and time again Californians have said we want it. We want it to work. I think what's so disheartening to me is that jury's across California have made these decisions. It wasn't a decision of one."
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In 1993, 12-year-old Polly Klaas was kidnapped from a slumber party and killed by Richard Allen Davis. He is still on death row.