California's suspension of death penalty doesn't indicate a trend

California's suspension of death penalty doesn't indicate a trend

California's suspension of death penalty doesn't indicate a trend

On Wednesday morning, Gavin Newsom is expected to sign a new executive order that will put in place an executive moratorium on the death penalty, meaning 737 inmates awaiting execution in California will not be put to death during the governor's tenure.

Human Rights Watch said that with the governor's decision, California continues a trend in the United States away from putting people to death.

President Donald Trump weighed in before Newsom's announcement, saying the governor's decision violates the will of Californians.

Shawn Steele, a California representative on the Republican National Committee, said the GOP would likely use the moratorium in upcoming campaigns against Newsom and other Democrats.

"I feel very uncomfortable as an administration, pursuing the death penalty", Newsom told reporters Wednesday.

Ellen Kreitzberg, a death penalty expert and opponent at Santa Clara University law school in California, welcomed Newsom's move.

The state joins Colorado, Oregon, and Pennsylvania, which have similar bans, and 20 states that have abolished the death penalty, it said.

Abolitionists expressed hope that Newsom's decision will convince other states across the country to institute their own moratoriums.

"The intentional killing of another person is wrong and as governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual", he said in prepared remarks. Though voters in 2016 narrowly approved a ballot measure to speed up the punishment, no condemned inmate faced imminent execution.

Since 1973, five inmates in California have been executed before being exonerated of their crimes later on. The state has not held an execution since 2006 but appeared to be moving toward resuming them.

While Newsom's gesture may impress an increasingly left-wing Democratic Party base, it is sure to be controversial on both sides of the aisle.

"California is a really odd outlier on the death penalty".

The order calls for the immediate closure of the execution chamber at San Quentin Prison. Voters rejected ballot measures to end the death penalty in the state in 2012 and 2016.

But, in the news conference immediately after signing the executive order Wednesday morning, Newsom said that the voters chose to put him in office knowing that he has always been opposed to the death penalty.

The governor's office said Newsom's order will also immediately close the state's execution chamber at San Quentin Prison, but does not otherwise change any existing convictions or sentences - and will not lead to any death row inmates being released.

The last time an inmate was executed in California was in 2006 under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. That's more than four times the amount of the second-deadliest state, Virginia, where there were 113 executions, or the third-deadliest, which is Oklahoma with 112 executions.

Under the governor's reprieve, all 737 people on death row will remain in prison and, on paper, sentenced to death.

Newsom reneged on his commitment, said Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale.

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