The death penalty in California is dead! Long live the death penalty!
That lede isn’t a joke. It isn’t even a contradiction. In California, the death penalty has long existed simultaneously as a grave moral problem and a necessary tool.
So, if Governor Gavin Newsom’s new moratorium on the death penalty becomes a permanent ban, we Californians should celebrate the end of a policy that magnified our society’s worst disparities, put us at odds with so many other countries, and created the risk of putting an innocent person to death.
But we—and I …