SAN FRANCISCO—The city reduced the sentence of its final remaining death row inmate to life in prison on Wednesday, July 29. According to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, which emptied San Francisco’s death row is now emptied.
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced that his office agreed to reduce the sentence of Clifford Stanley Bolden, the last remaining person on California’s death row out of San Francisco County, to a 47 years-to-life sentence. The DA’s office agreed to resentence Mr. Bolden to the life sentence in exchange for Mr. Bolden forfeiting his appellate arguments and writ of habeas corpus petitions in federal and state court. Under the agreement, Bolden, who has already served more than 34 years in prison, will not be eligible for parole until the age of 79.
“In recent years, an increasing number of Americans—and San Franciscans—have come to recognize that the death penalty is not only undeniably cruel and inconsistent with the values of a humane society, but also fails to deter or prevent crime. My office has not sought and will not seek the death penalty, and I am pleased that we have been able to ensure that no one previously sentenced in San Francisco will remain on death row either. I hope that other prosecutors and political leaders in the country follow our lead—one that is consistent with Governor Newsom’s moratorium on the death penalty—and end this barbaric practice,” said Boudin in a statement.
Papers filed by the DA’s office explained that during his time in prison, Bolden has not incurred a single serious rule violation in over 25 years. In addition, his writ of habeas corpus petition argument noted that Mr. Bolden suffered from schizophrenia at the time of his offense—a fact that the jury sentenced him to death that had not been considered during his trail that they were not aware of.
Since 2000, approximately 300 people have been sentenced to death in California. More than 400 death row inmates have waited there for more than 20 years as the state has only executed 13 people since 1978.