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California: With state executions on hold, death penalty foes rethink ballot strategy

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California advocates of abolishing the death penalty got a jolt of momentum in March, when Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he would not allow any executions to take place while he was in office.
But after trying twice this decade to persuade voters to end capital punishment, they have no plans to go to the ballot again in 2020. Rather than seeking to build on Newsom’s temporary reprieve for Death Row inmates, activists are taking their own pause.
Grappling with the legacy of their two failed initiatives, advocates are reassessing their strategy and retooling their message. Natasha Minsker, a political consultant who has long been involved with abolition efforts, said the governor’s moratorium has given advocates the opportunity to do long-term planning.
“There’s this excitement and energy in our movement that we haven’t had in a long time,” Minsker said.
Newsom’s executive order caught many Californians by surprise. Although he supported the unsuccessful ballot measures to abolish t…

Missouri schedules July 30 execution

A northern Missouri methamphetamine dealer is set to be the state’s first inmate put to death since October 2005.

The Missouri Supreme Court today set a July 30 execution date for John C. Middleton, who was convicted of killing two people in Mercer County in 1995.

Middleton, now 48, also was convicted in a separate case of killing a third person. He also received a death sentence in that case.

Prosecutors said Middleton killed the three to keep them from telling police about his methamphetamine operation.

Missouri has not executed an inmate since October 2005 when Marlin Gray was put to death.

Executions in the state and across the country had been put on hold while inmates raised legal questions about the constitutionality of the lethal injection method used in Missouri and most other capital punishment states.

But since April when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Kentucky’s lethal injection protocol, states have once again begun carrying out death sentences.

Nine men have been put to death since that ruling, and seven other executions are scheduled to die before Middleton, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Middleton is housed at the Potosi Correctional Center in Mineral Point. He will be transported to the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, where the state’s execution chamber is located.

Source: kansascity.com

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