“There is a moral dimension to politics where the line of tactics, and compromise, and mere pragmatism has to stop.
And the commitment to integrity, and life, and the values we know hold a civilized country together - that has to be maintained. Capital punishment is something I’ve been uncompromising about. The last man executed in California, during the administration of former President Reagan ... was a black man by the name of Aaron Mitchell. I was not in office at the time, but I was standing outside the prison walls in silent protest. During my [first] eight years as governor, no one was executed, and the legislature put a bill on my desk to reinstate capital punishment after the Supreme Court had invalidated it. I vetoed that bill.”
Jerry Brown, 1992, speaking to Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition
Momentum is building, but time is running out.
Between our petition and our allies around the country, more than 40,000 people have called for CA Gov. Jerry Brown to leave no one on death row before he leaves office, including some very influential figures.
Last Thursday, SIX former governors published an op-ed in the New York Times calling on Jerry Brown to make broad use of his clemency powers for those on death row.
We are happy to report that the petition was successfully delivered to the governor’s staff. His closest advisers heard from you and thousands of others.
We recently found a video from his 1992 presidential bid. It’s hard to put it any better than he did.
After you share the video on social media, please make a call to his office – especially if you are from California.
The number to call is 916-445-2841.
We suggest that you include in your statement:
“I recently signed a petition asking Governor Jerry Brown to leave no one on death row when he leaves office. I want you to know that I appreciate his efforts to reform the criminal justice system. Now it is time to commute as many death sentences as possible. I support this, and so do many thousands more.”
DPF President Mike Farrell remembers when Jerry Brown was an outspoken critic of the death penalty:
After Jerry Brown’s first two terms as California’s governor, one of the many things he did was host a radio talk show. I was a guest on the show and we spent the entire hour deploring the use of the death penalty, exploring all the reasons it was harming our society and should be ended.
Shortly thereafter, Death Penalty Focus had one of its first public awards events in San Francisco and we asked Jerry to present the award to our primary recipient, philanthropist Madeleine Haas Russell, in appreciation of her support for our efforts.
The event was a terrific success. As a prominent public event involving highly regarded members of our society, it made an important statement in support of abolition at a time when the death penalty was being widely used and had enormous public support.
As he left the event, Jerry Brown said, “You know, right now I can’t help you with this issue, but one day I hope to be in a position when I can.”
He is certainly there now.