By Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH
March 20, 2019 (San Diego) -- On Wednesday, March 13th, Governor Gavin Newsom imposed a moratorium on the death penalty. The reactions, both supporting the governor and condemning his action, have come swift and furious. When I read stories of families whose members, especially children have been murdered, even more so by serial killers, families who have attended death penalty appeal after appeal, cases where the evidence of guilt is overwhelming, I find little sympathy for the defendant and if I were a lawyer would find it near impossible to represent them. However, as I will try to explain below, my personal reactions aside, I am against the death penalty, partly because of the risk of executing an innocent person; but even the execution of someone overwhelmingly guilty of some truly horrendous act. This is not about them; but about us as a society. For a good summary of the history of the death penalty and current status around the world, see Wikipedia. Capital Punishment.