By Alfred King Journalism Guild Writer
The governor’s moratorium on executions has not stopped some California district attorneys from seeking the death penalty in new cases they prosecute.
District attorneys “across the state have continued to pursue capital charges against defendants,” the Sacramento Bee reported July 17.
Lawyers working on behalf of Cleamon Johnson asked the state Supreme Court on July 1 to halt such prosecutions, the newspaper said.
Johnson is a Los Angeles manaccusedofkillingfive people.
“In light of this paradigm shift, a California jury in a capital case cannot be expected to provide a fair and reasoned penalty-phase de- termination,’ lawyers argued in a petition to the high court.
The court in a similar case halted the death penalty trial, the story said. Those actions indicate the court is taking the argument seriously, said
Robert Sanger one of Johnson’s attorneys.
Prosecutors in their response to the court wrote any concerns about the governor’s moratorium can be handled during jury selection.
“Jurors are routinely asked to set aside these types of things in order to reach a just verdict based on the evidence and the law,” prosecutors claimed.
“The real goal of this petition is to turn Governor Newsom’s moratorium, which is nominally a reprieve, into a judicial abolition of the death penalty in California,” prosecutors wrote.