"Governor Newsom, who supported the failed initiative to end the death penalty in 2006, is usurping the express will of California voters and substituting his personal preferences via this hasty and ill-considered moratorium on the death penalty".
"The death penalty is inconsistent with our bedrock values and strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a Californian", Newsom will say, according to prepared remarks.
Newsom and the executive order argue that the death penalty is unfair and unequally applied based on race and mental disability, citing a 2005 study that found that individuals convicted of killing white victims were more than three times as likely to be sentenced to death than those convicted of killing blacks and over four times as likely as those convicted of killing Latinos.
Newsom's order suspends the death penalty in the state, shuts down the death chamber at San Quentin, and ends the state's efforts to come up with procedures for lethal injections without risk of botched or painful executions.
California Governor Gavin Newsom will announce a moratorium on executions and a temporary reprieve for all 737 inmates on death row in the USA state. It will also withdraw California's lethal injection protocol and close the execution chamber at San Quentin prison, his office said.
An armed California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officer stands guard at San Quentin State Prison's death row.
The California governor does not have the power to abolish the state's 1978 death penalty legislation permanently. But executions for more than 20 inmates who have exhausted their appeals could have resumed if those challenges were cleared up, and Newsom has said he anxious that it could happen soon.
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California Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom speaks after being elected governor of the state during an election night party in Los Angeles, California, U.S. November 6, 2018.
California hasn't executed anyone since 2006, when Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor.
Newsom said the death penalty isn't a deterrent, wastes taxpayer dollars and is flawed because it is "irreversible and irreparable in the event of human error". He also said innocent people have been wrongly convicted and sometimes put to death.
In 1986, voters essentially recalled California Chief Justice Rose Bird and two other associate Supreme Court justices appointed by former Gov. "That doesn't make it the right thing to do", Scheidegger said. And it said five condemned California inmates were eventually exonerated since 1973.
More than 900 people have been sentenced to death in California since 1978 but only 13 have been executed.
The governors of Pennsylvania, Washington and OR have imposed moratoriums on executions, and the former Colorado governor refused to execute someone on death row. As for Newsom, highlighting the issue could elevate his national profile, but could also ignite a firestorm of protest by crime victim advocates, President Trump and others.
But as the state's demographics have changed, so too have California's politics.