Santa Clara County asks governor to halt executions

The Associated Press
Wednesday October 31, 2001

SAN JOSE — Santa Clara County has become the second California county to ask Gov. Gray Davis to halt all executions. 

The county’s board of supervisors passed the non-binding resolution 4-1 on Tuesday. The city and county of San Francisco has approved a similar resolution, as have the cities of Oakland, Berkeley and Santa Cruz. 

The supervisors are requesting that all executions stop until studies on fairness in sentencing and the risk of executing innocent people are completed. Supervisors said Santa Clara County’s increasingly diverse population prompted them to consider the number of minorities sentenced to death there. 

Supervisor Blanca Alvarado, a longtime opponent of capital punishment, said the way the death penalty is used “doesn’t work.” 

Supervisor Dan Gage cast the lone “no” vote. He said he understands that the way the death penalty is implemented may need modification, but said he is against a moratorium on the death penalty while it’s being studied. 

A recent Field Poll found that as many as 73 percent of Californians support a moratorium. Similar measures have passed in more than 30 cities, including Atlanta, Baltimore and Philadelphia.