Ellen Kreitzberg was interviewed by KCRW about Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent announcement about plans to dismantle death row within the next two years. The Governor implemented a moratorium on the death penalty in 2019. Read more.

“The death penalty was brought to California by initiative, so it can only be abolished by inititative,” says Kreitzberg. The governor alone cannot abolish the death penalty.

Newsom’s executive order is part of a voter-approved initiative from 2016. At that time, Californians voted on two ballot measures relating to the death penalty: Prop 62 (which didn’t pass) and Prop 66. “Prop 62 set out a measure which would abolish the death penalty,” says Kreitzberg.

“Prop 66 included a number of measures that were thrown in together, including trying to expedite executions to get cases to move more quickly. But it also had a provision that required or encouraged more work by people in institutions and payment of restitution to victims.” That measure did pass by a slim margin. Governor Newsom’s executive order to dismantle death row is a response to this measure directly, explains Kreitzberg.