Democratic presidential candidate and California Sen. Kamala Harris criticized Attorney General William Barr Thursday for resuming executions of federal prisoners after a nearly 20-year lapse.
“This morning, the Department of Justice announced they would resume capital punishment. Let me be clear: capital punishment is immoral and deeply flawed. Too many innocent people have been put to death. We need a national moratorium on the death penalty, not a resurrection,” Harris wrote Thursday on Twitter.
This morning, the Department of Justice announced they would resume capital punishment. Let me be clear: capital punishment is immoral and deeply flawed. Too many innocent people have been put to death. We need a national moratorium on the death penalty, not a resurrection.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) July 25, 2019
Harris has touted her background as a prosecutor during her campaign and served as California’s attorney general from 2011 to 2017. Harris has been an opponent of the death penalty since her days as San Francisco district attorney starting in 2004. She faced blowback early in her tenure for announcing she would not pursue the death penalty in the case of slain police officer Isaac Espinoza, reported CNN. (RELATED: Kamala Harris Gets Behind Marijuana Legalization)
“I felt like [Harris] had just taken something from us,” Espinoza’s widow Renata Espinoza told CNN. “She had just taken justice from us. From Isaac. She was only thinking of herself. I couldn’t understand why. I was in disbelief that she had gone on and already made her decision to not seek the death penalty for my husband.”
Harris has also faced criticism from opponents of the death penalty, who did not like that Harris did not take sides on ballot measures that would have repealed the death penalty. Harris said her role as attorney general wouldn’t allow it, San Francisco Chronicle editorial page editor John Diaz noted in a March opinion article. She also faced criticism for pushing an appeal in 2015 that upheld the death penalty, another thing she said she had no choice in.
Her state’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in March that he would place a moratorium on all executions in his state.
The Department of Justice announced Thursday that five inmates will be executed: Daniel Lewis Lee, Lezmond Mitchell, Wesley Ira Purkey, Alfred Bourgeois and Dustin Lee Honken.
Harris’s strong stance on the death penalty comes after her flip-flop on marijuana legalization.
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