If the death penalty is on the books in California, why shouldn’t the state do the same?
The state’s two highest-profile executioners, former inmate Michael Wayne Carvalho and his former partner Robert Durst, are serving life sentences for the murder of two women in 1997.
The California Supreme Court has blocked the executions of both men.
Both men are set to be executed this weekend in California.
Carvalhos death sentences were overturned on appeal, but the court will hear a petition on Wednesday asking the justices to hear it again.
“There’s no reason the court should stay with them, because they’re innocent,” said Alan Wertheimer, a former California state prison chaplain who has been working on behalf of Carvalheos and Durst.
“There’s nothing that prevents the California Supreme Courts from going back to them.”
The Supreme Court said in the Carvalhalos case that a person is entitled to a hearing on whether a sentence is constitutional if the death sentence was imposed “without the least degree of judicial inquiry or due process.”
Gavin Newsom said in a statement on Tuesday that he “rejects any suggestion that the courts should disregard the death sentences of the two defendants.”
“Our law is clear: The death penalty must be reinstated as a matter of state law,” he said.
The justices in the state’s other death row, convicted murderer Christopher Dorner, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In a separate case, Dorner’s trial is set to begin Wednesday, though the exact nature of the charges against him remain unclear.
The defense lawyers for Dorner have argued that his actions during the search for his girlfriend were justified by self-defense.
In both cases, the court has ruled against the death row inmates, but it has ruled on other death penalty cases.
The court has upheld the sentences of five death row prisoners who were convicted of murder and attempted murder.